The Malik Report
by Paul on 05/20/13 at 11:02 AM ET
from Craig Custance of ESPN (paid subscription),
The best playoff teams have that element of size and strength in their top-six, and it's something Abdelkader provides for Detroit. Over the course of a long series, his physical style against the Blackhawks' best players can potentially chip away at their will and wear them down....
And Ericsson has settled in as a reliable partner with Niklas Kronwall, developing into a player Babcock can trust completely. With the Red Wings' season on the line in Game 7 against the Ducks, he played 26:10, the most ice time he has gotten in any game this year that didn't go into overtime.
"He's playing like a No. 2, that's a major progression for him," the NHL scout said. "He has size. He plays like a stopper and he can move the puck. He wants to do more with the puck, he thinks he can and he's getting there."...
If Detroit is a split second late, Chicago will blow right by them. It's why the Blackhawks are the best team in the league right now and why it's hard to put together back-to-back efforts like the Red Wings did Saturday against them.
When the Wild beat the Blackhawks in overtime in the first round, Chicago responded by scoring eight of the next nine goals to end Minnesota's season.
That's what a championship team does and there's no reason to believe the Blackhawks won't find that same effort tonight in Game 3. Whether or not Detroit matches it will go a long way in revealing just how much they've closed the gap.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.