The Malik Report
Updated 7x at 2:42 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will start Petr Mrazek in front of a shuffled defense (Smith in for Quincey) and different lines--we think (Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the media that he may or may not use the lines he employed during the morning skate)--as they face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the teams' first-round series tonight (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
Per MLive's Ansar Khan, the morning skate lines looked like this:
Updated 3x at 11:56 AM: Mrazek in, Quincey out, lines shuffled: The Detroit Red Wings face a must-win situation against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM). The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just before 10:30 AM, per the Free Press's George Sipple...
Of Red Wings, Lightning and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this morning:
1. The Red Wings posted a "Game-Day Hype" video on their Twitter account:
2. The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a long column discussing the ways in which the Red Wings need to step up, noting that the Wings' offense is stuck in neutral:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five ways the Red Wings can get back into the series:
Mrazek must step in and excel
Jeff Blashill wouldn't reveal any lineup decisions following Saturday's optional practice. But only one personnel move would have the potential for a huge impact and that's a goaltending change.
Jimmy Howard hasn't played poorly. He hasn't gotten enough defensive support. But his 3.59 goals-against average and .871 save percentage in the series isn't going to get it done.
Putting Petr Mrazek in goal could provide a huge lift. He hasn't started since March 26, when he was pulled for the fourth time in 13 games, culminating a puzzling fall in the second half for a goalie who was dominant in January and early February....
Get Athanasiou more minutes
The Red Wings need to put aside any concerns about rookie Andreas Athanasiou's inexperience or defensive deficiencies and play him more. He logged only 8:45 and 7:33, respectively, in the first two games.
Athanasiou maximizes his ice time by making things happen with his blazing speed and has finishing ability. When he has the puck and turns up ice, he doesn't need much space to gain separation and put defenses on their heels.
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye built up a 4-0 lead over the Reading Royals and held on for dear life, with Reading scoring 3 goals on Jake Paterson, but Paterson held tough, stopping 23 of 26 shots as the Walleye defeated Reading 4-3, tying the teams' first-round series at a game apiece.
Red Wings-Lightning Game 3 set-up: Win a game + Albom on Yzerman and Sharp on the rebuild-on-the-fly
The Detroit Red Wings face a must-win situation in Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/CNBC/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), at least if the Wings don't want to be staring a 3-games-to-none deficit in the face.
The storylines going into tonight's game are relatively simple as neither team held a full skate on Saturday, with the Wings choosing to address Friday's brawl after an optional practice and the Lightning discussing their desire to "keep an even keel" against the Wings as the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena.
The Lightning did receive bad news in the injury department as J.T. Brown will miss the remainder of the series after blocking a shot with his "upper-body," as the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman noted...
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
GRIFFINS TO OPEN PLAYOFFS AGAINST ADMIRALS
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins will begin the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs by facing the Milwaukee Admirals in the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Griffins and division champion Admirals will stage Games 1 and 2 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 before the series turns to Van Andel Arena for Game 3 on Tuesday, April 26 and, if necessary, Game 4 on Wednesday, April 27. The complete schedule is as follows:
2016 Calder Cup Playoffs - Central Division Semifinals - Best-of-Five
- Game 1 Fri., April 22 GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals 8 p.m.
- Game 2 Sat., April 23 GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals 8 p.m.
- Game 3 Tue., April 26 Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS 7 p.m.
- *Game 4 Wed., April 27 Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS 7 p.m.
- *Game 5 Sat., April 30 GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals 8 p.m.
* If necessary
All times Eastern and subject to change
All games on ESPN 96.1 FM and AHLLive.com
My biggest concern regarding the Red Wings involves their inability to out-score their mistakes, and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff (via RedWingsFeed) duly notes that the Red Wings' top scorers and secondary scorers alike can't find a way to dent the back of the net, and haven't been able to do so all year long.
It's gotten so bad that I'm wondering if the Wings still miss Johan Franzen, and whether the team's biggest need this summer is in fact to add another big body that can go to the front of the net and score 20 goals. I know it sounds strange to suggest that the Wings were constructed to accommodate a healthy Johan Franzen, but that's what I believe.
Detroit’s 209 regular-season goals are lowest total among the 16 playoff teams. Rookie Dylan Larkin’s team-leading 23 goals — the smallest number to lead the Wings in goals in a non-lockout year since Adam Brown scored 20 times in 1945-46 — is the lowest total to lead an NHL team into the post season since Shane Doan topped the 2010-11 Phoenix Coyotes with 20 goals.
If case you’ve forgotten, those Coyotes were hastily swept aside in the opening round of the playoffs that spring by the Red Wings.
A power play that produced a NHL-leading 69 goals during the 2014-15 campaign masked the reality that during five-on-five play, Detroit simply could not compete, finishing 25th in the league with 133 goals in that scenario.
The Wings find themselves in a dilemma. Their young scorers haven’t proven they are ready for prime time, while too many of their old reliable scorers appear to be past their prime.
If the former group doesn’t instantly mature, or the latter group unearths the fountain of youth, the Wings will soon find themselves watching other teams competing for Lord Stanley’s mug.
The Grand Rapids Griffins play their final regular-season game tonight, and ahead of the game vs. Bakersfield, Griffins announcer Bob Kaser wrapped up the regular season and teed up the playoffs in today's Game Day Preview video:
The day after the Red Wings' 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bolts chose not to practice, speaking with the media in Tampa Bay before flying to Detroit.
Tthe Red Wings held an optional practice at Joe Louis Arena, and after said practice, Andreas Athanasiou, coach Jeff Blashill and Justin Abdelkader spoke with the media, addressing their need to improve their execution at both ends of the ice.
The Wings told MLive's Brendan Savage that they plan on "taking care of home ice" while slowing down the Lightning's Triplets line...
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.