Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

The overnight report: Red Wings-Leafs set-up—Wings getting the Leafs at the right time?

The Detroit Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/TSN4/97.1 FM), and in theory, the 11-13-and-7 Red Wings are getting the 20-12-and-1 Maple Leafs at a good time.

Toronto is coming off a 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, and the Leafs have lost 2 straight games without the services of Auston Matthews, who is probably undergoing a concussion protocol at present. Toronto sits second in the Atlantic Division at present, and the Leafs will be starting goaltender Curtis McIlhinney opposite Jimmy Howard this evening.

On Thursday night, the Leafs decompressed and debriefed after their loss to the Wild, as noted by the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby:

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Prospect news: Cholowski cut from Canadian WJC camp, and OHL news

Of prospect-related note:

In World Junior Championship news, Team Canada made its first cuts at its World Junior selection camp, and the Canadian Press reports that Dennis Cholowski was sent back to the WHL's Prince George Cougars. This is a bummer for Cholowski, who hoped to make the Canadian roster, but they're stacked on defense.

It's still highly likely that Kasper Kotkansalo (Finland), Malte Setkov (Denmark) and Filip Larsson (Sweden) will play at the WJC.

In game news, in the OHL, Kaden Fulcher served as the back-up and Reilly Webb finished at -1 in the Hamilton Bulldogs' 5-2 win over North Bay;

And Zach Gallant finished at -1 with 3 shots and a 10-for-20 faceoff record, and Cole Fraser finished at -1 as their Peterborough Petes lost 5-2 to Ottawa.

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Custance: Do the Wings need to showcase Petr Mrazek?

According to The Athletic's Craig Custance, the Red Wings' record during the pre-Christmas schedule may determine what the Wings do with Petr Mrazek, who is drawing some trade interest:

There currently are teams in search of goaltending and there are not a lot of options on the market. According to an NHL source, multiple teams have contacted the Red Wings about trading Mrazek. And that’s despite the fact he’s played just four times in the last month and has a save percentage under .900.

Teams aren’t banging down the door for Mrazek but there’s at least interest, which gives an indication of how light the goaltending market is right now.

After a rough season last year, Mrazek showed up to training camp in great shape and seemingly determined to bury last season into the past. But he’s been outplayed by Jimmy Howard this season and hasn’t really gotten an opportunity to string a few successful starts together. Understandably so, since the coaching staff is trying to put itself in the best position to win games.

“We’re in a playoff game every night,” Blashill said. “My job is to put the lineup in that gives us the best chance to win the hockey game.”

Custance continues (paywall), wondering whether the Red Wings should play Mrazek to showcase him, even if Mrazek only draws a 2nd or 3rd-round pick as compensation as a "rental" goalie...

FYI: RIPro Hocey Talk's James O'Brien also looked at some possible destinations for Mrazek, and TSN's Bob McKenzie Tweeted this:

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Afternoon news: on the Wings’ overtime issues, a Wings-Leafs preview & a Finnish Kotkansalo profile

The Red Wings chose not to practice today, but the Free Press's Helene St. James and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan still filed off-day notebooks.

St. James issued "takeaways" from the Red Wings' most recent games, discussing Detroit's overtime problems...

If only the Wings could get a game to a shootout, maybe they’d win. They’re 11-1 in shootouts dating to last season. Their overtime record fell to 0-6 this season with the Bruins loss, and Tatar said the Wings need to change their approach.

“I think we should sit down and talk about what we should do, how we can help each other more out there,” he said. “That area is killing us for sure. That’s many points we lost there.”

Tatar suggested the Wings take a more defensive approach to 3-on-3 play.

“You can hold the puck, get them tired, make them stay longer on the ice,” he said.

Overtime is more or less a free-for-all, and chances arise from a blocked shot, from a shot that rims out. Monday, the Panthers scored after poking the puck away from Andreas Athanasoiu. The Bruins capitalized after Gustav Nyquist fell.

St. James continues at length, and Kulfan picks up the overtime narrative from there:

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Mid-day news: Wings take the day off; on Axel Holmstrom, AHL referees behind-the-scenes, etc.

The Red Wings chose to take a rest the morning after a 3-2 OT loss to the Boston Bruins. The Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, and then they'll have 2 days off before playing road games against the Islanders and Flyers next Tuesday and Wednesday; the team closes out its pre-Christmas schedule with a rematch against Boston on Saturday the 23rd.

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa reports that the Wings took the day off...

So:

Also of Red Wings-related note:

1. The Athletic's Corey Pronman penned a list of "interesting" NHL prospects to discuss, and he included Axel Holmstrom in the mix:

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Another OT Loss For The Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings, 0-6 in overtime, are 1-5-5 in their past 11. Aside from a few ugly losses during this stretch, they believe they've played well but haven't gotten results....

The Red Wings can't explain their difficulty in overtime.

"That area is killing us for sure," Tatar said. "That's many points we lost....

"You can hold the puck, you can get them tired, make them stay longer on the ice," Tatar said. "You can't shoot every chance, maybe wait for a better one. More and more teams are trying to figure it out, because when this rule came to the league, it was more free-for-all. Now you can see some teams are doing it on purpose and doing some things that looked structured."

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said they have looked into player usage, their system and other factors, searching for answers to their OT woes.

"I think the biggest thing in those three-on-three situations is you got to make offensive and defensive plays and we haven't made enough of those," he said.

more

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Prospect news: Griffins ‘Dogg’ their way to shootout win; Gilmour (1), Rasmussen (2) score goals

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from a 3-0 deficit on goals from Brian Lashoff and Ben Street (2) en route to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Iowa Wild. Street also scored the shootout winner, and Jared Coreau stopped 25 of 28 shots for Grand Rapids.

The Griffins' website posted a recap:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Bruins wrap-up—overtime blues

The stats are kind of stupid at this point. Detroit is 1-5-and-5 over their past 11 games thanks to a 3-2 OT loss to the Boston Bruins, a team they've won 1 of THIRTEEN games against.

Detroit at least managed to turn the game into a "one-point" loss by earning their 6th OT loss of the season, but the Bruins 5-point lead in the Atlantic Division standings still includes 3 games in hand on the 11-13-and-7 Wings.

In my opinion: I don't believe that the Red Wings are going to make a significant roster change--be it a trade or a coaching change--until after the pre-Christmas schedule is over (see: Toronto on Friday, @NYI and @PHI next Tues/Wed, and @BOS next Saturday), but I do believe that Ken Holland's "thought process" will have to involve some sort of significant change if the Red Wings are still losing come Christmas.

Going from macro-analysis to micro-analysis, the game-winning goal felt so embarrassing, because it was telegraph-shot predictable.

On the play, Zetterberg completely mis-read the play, pinching instead of hauling ass back to help once Nyquist tripped (Zetterberg finished at -3 on the night, and he's been awful lately), and as Marchand broke away, Green chose to try to poke around the Rat instead of taking his stick...Howard was as good as gone as soon as his left knee dropped:

In terms of the game as a whole, a comedy of errors undid what was yet again an excellent performance for about 40-50 minutes, marred by enough fundamental mistakes over the 10 minutes that the Wings didn't play excellent hockey to ruin the night for everybody in attendance (including a remarkably decent crowd for any night at Little Caesars Arena, never mind an evening wherein the region got blanketed by 6-8 inches of afternoon-and-evening snow).

Our friends from Boston have now won 9 of their past 11 games, and it could be argued that in winning on Wednesday, they took the "undercard" match-up heading home for a marquee affair against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

The B's were delighted to rally from a 2-1 deficit with all of 1:26 remaining in regulation, and to then capture two points all of 35 seconds into overtime. It wasn't a bad night's work, or in the Bruins' case, 2 minutes and 11 seconds' worth of work, as they told the Boston Globe's Kevin Dupont:

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Red Wings-Bruins quick take: slip sliding away (in OT)

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to snap the Boston Bruins' long string of dominance over the Wings as the teams faced off for the first time this season.

The Wings owned a 1-10-and-1 record against the Bruins over the past year or so, and as the Red Wings also had a 1-5-and-4 record over their past 10 games, so expectations were not high for this one.

The Red Wings found a way to make it a 1-point game, but the Red Wings still lost, dropping a 3-2 OT decision to the Bruins.

Detroit did an excellent job of scoring the first and second goals before Boston did, but Detroit wore down and made mistakes as the 3rd period wound down, surrendering a game-tying goal with 1:26 remaining, and Brad Marchand made Zetterberg, Nyquist and Green--and Howard--look silly scoring the OT winner all of 35 seconds into OT.

So the Wings are now 1-5-and-5 over their past 11 games, and they've won 1 of 13 against the Bruins, with a rematch scheduled for December 23rd in Boston.

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Notes On The Wings Plus The Game Day Preview

from Arthur J. Regner of the Wings' website,

At first glance a four-point gap between the Red Wings and the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings doesn't appear to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome, especially since it's only mid-December.

However, the Bruins have played the fewest games in the NHL at 27 while the Wings have played 30. Detroit is 1-5-4 in its last 10 and Boston is 8-2 and oh, by the way, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is playing at his standard world-class level.

Since the Wings and Bruins play twice before the annual Christmas break, Wednesday's game for Detroit is borderline must-win territory.

"We have to play great hockey to give ourselves the best chance to win so we have to focus on ourselves and make sure we're playing great hockey," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said after Wednesday's morning skate.

continued

Watch the game day preview below...

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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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