The Malik Report
Of prospect-related note:
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin played 17:10 and won 60% of his faceoffs in SKA St. Petersburg's 2-1 OT win over Neftekhimik;
In the Swedish J20 SuperElit League, Joren Van Pottelberghe stopped 20 of 22 shots in Linkopings HC's 2-0 loss to Malmo;
And in the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov finished at +1 and went 9-for-13 in the faceoff circle in the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles' 4-1 win over Blainville-Boisbriand;
The Red Wings have a brutal little stretch of games ahead of them this week.
The Wings will head to Washington to battle the 18-5-and-2 Capitals on Tuesday; then the Wings host the 19-6-and-3 Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, and then the Wings head back on the road to play the 13-10-and-3 Devils on Friday.
That's 3 games in 4 nights against a pair of division-leaders in Washington and Montreal, and then, in the Devils, a "Wild Card" rival that sits only 3 points behind the 15-8-and-4 Wings' 34 points (half of those points came during the last 10 games, in which the Wings can boast a 7-0-and-3 record).
The Wings told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that they plan on approaching their next tasks the same way Detroit took its 4-0-and-2 home stand--shift by shift:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings' depth must be good when they can form what they feel is a top-tier line without Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg or sensational rookie Dylan Larkin on it.
Coach Jeff Blashill called the line of Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan the club's X-factor.
"I challenged them to take it upon themselves to be a top-tier line in the league and they're becoming that," Blashill said. "I don't have to match lines too hard because they can play against anybody. Pav can play against anybody. Z can play against anybody. It makes us a real dangerous team. They need to continue to grow, though."
Blashill said the trio has been "driving their own line" since they were united Oct. 21 in Edmonton. Injuries to others prompted their separation shortly after, but they've been together the past several weeks.
In case you missed it, Justin Abdelkader was mic'd up last night.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
It was the type of game the Red Wings might not have won earlier in the year, when they were struggling to score goals and their record was hovering around the .500 mark under a first-year coach.
But after beating Nashville, the Red Wings have earned at least one point in 10 straight games – the longest such streak in more than five years – and their confidence is soaring with one of the eight-best point percentage in the NHL.
"Winning breeds confidence and losing does the opposite," said Blashill, whose team improved to 15-8-4 and is second in the Atlantic Division. "I think we got a good leadership group that makes sure we stay level-headed and continue to try to get better. But winning certainly breeds confidence.
"I thought it was great character by our guys. I thought we did a good job of staying patient and just staying with it. I thought we just kept coming and coming and coming really the second half of the game."
From Grand Rapids' Fox 17's Clayton Cummins:
Christmas came early for a group of hockey players on Dec. 5. Players from the West Michigan Patriots gathered inside the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids to receive a special gift.
“New players this year got their jerseys and all of the team got jackets like the one I’m wearing from a donation by an anonymous donor” said Charlie Keider, the President and director of coaching with the West Michigan Hockey Association.
The West Michigan Special Hockey Association is a non-profit group of volunteers that gives players with disabilities a chance to get back onto the ice.
“There was a huge need for a team like this where kids were begging to be on the ice but couldn’t find a team” said Keider.
Not being part of a team was a heart breaking experience for Pierce Wysong, an 8th grader from Holland.
“We didn’t know I had Asperger’s yet. I was playing cross ice and I was a kinda crazy, and the coach didn’t like that so he kicked me off. That was before I came to this team” said Wysong.
The Patriots weren’t alone to celebrate Jersey Day today. Team members from the Grand Rapids Griffin’s came to help make today even more special.
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, Tom McCollum stopped 41 of 42 shots, Eric Tangradi had a hat trick and Anthony Mantha had 2 assists as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Lake Erie Monsters 4-1. The Griffins' website posted a recap...
The Red Wings extended their point streak to 10 games and won 4 games on their 6-game home stand, and ahead of a rough stretch of games against Washington, Montreal and then New Jersey, Detroit's going on the road (and then back home. And back on the road) to kick off a stretch of 3 games in 4 nights with boatloads of confidence.
The Predators were positively gloomy after the game, as noted by NashvillePredators.com's Brooks Bratten...
A team on a 9-game point streak battling a team that's won 2 of 8 sounds like a "trap game" to me, and that's what the Red Wings faced in facing the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
This was a trap, and the Predators sprung it, to the tune of 3-1 and 4-2 leads, a 3-for-4 PP and a hat trick for the hated Shea Weber.
And Nashville lost!
The Red Wings came roaring back despite themselves--repeatedly--rallying from a 3-1 and then a 4-2 deficit to forge a 4-4 tie and a point with 2:23 left in regulation, thanks to an Abdelkader goal and a stupid, stupid, stupid penalty by Ryan Ellis...
And Gustav Nyquist did this in OT:
Detroit won 5-4 and lengthened its points streak to 10 games.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding Dylan Larkin's NHL-leading +17:
"Larkin has found a way to be out there when we've scored lots of goals," coach Jeff Blashill said before Saturday's game vs. Nashville. "There's a huge differentiation and that speaks highly of how he's played. He's been out there for lots of goals and not many against. For some reason, even if he makes mistakes he seems to find a way to maybe make up for it. And then he's obviously creating lots as well."
Remarkably, Larkin's plus-minus rating is far better than anyone else on the team. Jonathan Ericsson and Brendan Smith are next at plus-5. Henrik Zetterberg is the only other forward as high as plus-3.
Plus-minus takes into account the number of goals a team scores minus the number of goals it allows while a player in on the ice at even strength. The Red Wings as a team are plus-6.
"One thing about plus-minus that I don't like is that it includes empty-net goals (the Red Wings are minus-4 in ENGs). I think it can really skew the stat," Blashill said. "But I still put stock in the plus-minus. I still think it means something if you're out there when you score a lot and not out there when you get scored on a lot. I put more stock into our scoring chances plus-minus – we keep track of a plus-minus based on scoring chances – but that doesn't mean that the regular plus-minus doesn't count."
Khan continues with more notes...
About The Malik Report
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.