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The Boston Bruins lost 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, yielding an Atlantic Division and Wild Card picture that looks like this:

Detroit, Boston and Philadelphia all have 91 points now, but:

Detroit owns 1 game in hand and a Regulation-or-Overtime-Win tiebreaker;

Philadelphia has 2 games hin hand but not a ROW.

MLive's Ansar Khan has posted the remaining schedules of all three teams, but here is the bottom line, per Winging It in Motown:

Boston can earn up to 95 points right now, while the Wings can earn 97.

Even if the Wings lose to Philly tomorrow, if Detroit earns a regulation win (2 points for Detroit, 0 for Boston) against the Bruins on Thursday, Detroit would have 39 ROWs, and Boston could not catch that even if they tie the Wings in points.

Update: This note from WEEI's DJ Bean is also quite important:

In suffering a 2-1 shootout loss to the Hurricanes that saw Noah Hanifin score the only goal of the skills competition, the Bruins ceded the ability to control their own destiny. Even if the Bruins win their next two games, including a regulation or overtime win against the Red Wings, Detroit can still reach the playoffs by winning its other two games in regulation or overtime.

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Prospect news: Holmstrom, Skelleftea win; Griffins issue weekly release

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom had 2 shots, won 45% of his faceoffs and played 14:42 in Skelleftea AIK's 2-0 win over the Vaxjo Lakers. Skelleftea leads their SHL semifinal series 2 games to 1;



And here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' weekly press release:

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Articles from practice II: on ‘fun,’ the Flyers’ forecheck, a ‘historic finale’ & KH interview

Several stories of Red Wings-related note popped up between my exit for an appointment and my return, and they merit their own topic in addition to today's practice article post, so:

1. Here's a fuller-context take of Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill's comment about the Wings' opportunity to enjoy themselves this week, as noted by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

Wednesday’s game is arguably one of the most important regular-season games the Red Wings have had in recent years. Blashill feels it’s important for the Red Wings to simplify this game as much as possible.

“Let’s enjoy this, and enjoy the great opportunity ahead of us, and let’s focus on the process or what it takes to be successful,” Blashill said. “Enjoy the moment, it’s the time of year that’s fun. (But) every game matters. Game No. 1 mattered as much as this done does, it’s just that these games get magnified.”

Blashill doesn’t want the Red Wings to deviate from what’s been successful.

“Our approach needs to be what our approach has been in terms of what we’ve wanted to do all season long,” Blashill said. “We want to play a competitive 60 minutes, be on our toes, and get them on their heels.

“The momentum of the game, it usually goes back and forth a little bit, so when the momentum goes away from us we need to recapture it as soon as possible. We’re excited.”

Kulfan continues...

2. MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with the Wings regarding the Flyers' particularly physical forecheck and handling the Flyers in front of a home crowd...

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Happy Birthday, Good Sir

We're not supposed to make a big deal out of it, but today is Paul's 60th birthday, and I most certainly wish the boss a happy 60th!

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Articles (and video) from practice: Time to embrace the opportunity to have fun?

Updated 4x at 2:30 PM: The Red Wings practiced with all players present and accounted for on Tuesday morning--no line changes for Detroit, Howard in the "starter's net"--while the Flyers practiced with the would-be injured Andrew MacDonald in the lineup in Philly.

After practice, Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan, and Blashill talked about "capturing momentum" against the Flyers via confidence in the players and system and delivering pucks and players to the net; as far as Blashill is concerned, tomorrow's game is also about enjoying the moment and having fun:

Fox 2 also posted a clip of Blashill, Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist's practice remarks:

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Friedman with a little more about Datsyuk and a note on the youth movement

From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts":

17. Expect a large ovation for Pavel Datsyuk on Wednesday, as the Red Wings play their final home game of the regular season, a titanic matchup against Philadelphia. Datsyuk is considering the possibility of a return to Russia for next season, one year earlier than expected. Nothing would be final until a post-season meeting, and it would not be a surprise if Detroit offers him an extra year’s contract as an incentive to stay. If he does leave, the Red Wings’ cap situation could be alleviated if someone is willing to take his salary to get to the floor. (He’s to earn $5.5M in actual cash next season.) That’s a bigger number than we’ve seen so far, as Chris Pronger ($575,000 this year and next in Arizona) and Marc Savard (same situation in Florida) are much lower on the pay scale. But, we’ve all learned to expect the unexpected. Failing that, the Red Wings and/or the NHL could block Datsyuk from playing in Russia if they wanted.

The NHL and Russia have a "memorandum of understanding" regarding players with valid contracts, and the NHL could invoke the MOU to block Datsyuk from returning to Russia.

18. Dylan Larkin, 77 games played. Andreas Athanasiou 34 and Anthony Mantha 10. That’s the first time since 2001-02 three players under 22 appeared in at least 10 games for Detroit. Back then it was Jiri Fischer with 80, Sean Avery at 36 and Jason Williams getting into 25. One of the biggest surprises in Detroit is how much the Red Wings needed these young players to make offensive contributions, as the club is on pace to score its fewest goals since 1976-77. Sometimes, you’ve got to change your philosophy to survive. Larkin (23) could lead them in goals. Tomas Tatar is next with 21. Justin Abdelkader needs two, Gustav Nyquist three and Datsyuk four for 20.

Friedman continues...

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Practice Tweets: ‘everyone present’ for last reg. season practice @ JLA; Howard likely to start Wed.

Updated 6x with video at 12:51 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena at 11 AM to prepare for their massively important match-ups against the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that a familiar face preceded the main group:

A sight for sore eyes: Drew Miller (knee) is on the ice skating in his own before the #RedWings practice at JLA.

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Morning trio: Larkin weighs in on the playoff streak; an historic Lindsay mark; Wings-Bolts?

TSN's Frank Seravalli spoke with Dylan Larkin regarding the Red Wings' playoff streak and Larkin's rookie season:

A winner-take-all gauntlet against the Flyers and Bruins - on back-to-back nights, against the two teams the Red Wings trying to fend off - waits on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s down to three teams for two spots in the only compelling playoff battle this season.

“We’re in a great spot. It isn’t ideal, but we control our own destiny,” Larkin said. “I look at it as we have three play-in games here. Win and you’re in. Lose, and you start your summer.”

The streak has survived five coaching changes, three managerial regimes, three conference realignments and three captaincies.

This year’s captain, Henrik Zetterberg, still has the letter and name cache, but Larkin’s arrival signalled the beginning of a passing of the torch. Larkin is just three points back of both Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg, who are 18 and 16 years his senior. Those leaders and new coach Jeff Blashill have helped Larkin keep the flame lit.

Larkin paces Detroit in goals (23) and plus/minus (13). He has collected 22 assists for 45 points in 77 games. But he has cooled off considerably in the second-half of the year, with just 18 points in his last half of the year. He admitted the level of the game changed after Christmas.

“I’ve definitely learned to appreciate every goal and every assist. They’re a lot harder to come by,” Larkin said. “But it’s been awesome. This season has gone way better than I thought it would, because I didn’t even expect to be here this year. I had a good start. There have been some highs and lows, but it’s been interesting to see how the leaders handle things.”

Seravalli continues, and also of Red Wings-related note this morning:

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Red Wings’ ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ extends beyond the rink

From the Red Wings:

... Fans in Attendance Have Chance to Win Autographed, Game-Used Sticks; Great Prizes Also Available Through DRW Social and at DRW.com for Fans Not at The Joe on Wednesday ...

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will thank the fans of Hockeytown by hosting ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ on Wednesday, April 6 when the Red Wings take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 8:00 p.m. (NBCSN / 97.1 The Ticket), in the final regular season home game of the 2015-16 campaign.

Along with numerous giveaways throughout the night, more than 20 lucky fans in attendance on Wednesday will be selected at random to receive a Red Wings autographed, game-used stick.

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Detroit News’s Goricki: Why Red Berenson stayed at Michigan

From the Detroit News's David Goricki:

It took one call from a former player for Red Berenson to decide he would return for at least one more year as Michigan’s hockey coach.

“We started having meetings with some of our players and they’re asking me if I’m going to be here,” Berenson said Monday, a day after announcing he would return for his 33rd season as Michigan’s coach. “I thought if I’m going to make this decision I’d better make it sooner than later to let the players know, to be up front with them.

“Then, I got a call from a player reminding me that it was the day we won the national championship in ’96. We had a short talk and then he said, ‘By the way, I just want to let you know that you changed my life, like thank you for recruiting me. Michigan changed my life. I will be forever grateful.’ ”

Berenson wouldn’t say who called .

But that call, along with the fact athletic director Warde Manuel wanted Berenson, 76, back, was all the coach needed to hear.

“This is why you’re coaching really, for kids like this,” Berenson said. “Then, I thought right away you know what, that sounds like me because when I went to Michigan it changed my life. ... I thought even if I’m on the fence I can do this for one more year.”

Continued, and Berenson says he's now "year to year"...

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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.


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