The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off for a rematch of the teams' 2014-15 playoff series on Wednesday evening, with both teams believing that little feeling-out process would yield an aggressive, intense and high-tempo series in which offense grinds against incredibly tight defense and two evenly-matched teams battled for a hard-fought victory.
It wasn't hard-fought as much as it was opportunistic and downright dirty. The Lightning got very lucky and were very, very, very opportunistic in their goal-scoring abilities as they prevailed 3-2 despite an incredible effort from the Red Wings, and a command performance from Justin Abdelkader in the physical department--but not enough in the goal-scoring department, where the WIngs had to work far too hard for their goals, whereas the Bolts got theirs far too easily.
It was dirty, chippy, mean and nasty, and the Wings didn't come out on top, but they sure proved that they could skate with the Bolts. They've got to play sharper and more urgent hockey, and they need to do this:
Let Bishop flop. Attack him.
Of prospect-related note:
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom was out of action in Skelleftea AIK's 3-2 OT win over the Vaxjo Lakers. Skelleftea advances to the SHL final against Christoffer Ehn's Frolunda Indians after defeating Vaxjo in 7 games;
And in the BCHL, Chase Perry was named the Wenatchee Wild's MVP:
Of Red Wings and Lightning-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video:
2. On the Lightning side of the ice, TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns noted that the Bolts are expecting a tight game...
From the Red Wings:
RED WINGS BEARD-A-THON® ENCOURAGES fans to grow PLAYOFF beards for charity
… Proceeds to Benefit the Detroit Red Wings Foundation …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings are inviting fans to join players in growing out their playoff beards for the annual Beard-A-Thon® to benefit the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, as the Red Wings embark on their historic 25th straight playoff appearance – the longest active playoff streak in North American major professional sports.
By joining the Red Wings Beard-A-Thon® team, fans can pledge to maintain a beard throughout the Red Wings playoff run. Participating fans are encouraged to share beard progress pictures online and have friends and family support the cause by donating throughout the playoffs. Fans who are unable to grow a beard can still participate in Beard-A-Thon® by pledging to support a beard grower.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
GRIFFINS SIGN GLOBKE TO CONTRACT FOR 2016-17 SEASON
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday signed forward Alex Globke (GLOBE-key) to a standard player’s contract for the 2016-17 season.
A native of Waterford, Mich., Globke spent the last three seasons competing for the Lake Superior State Lakers (WCHA), where he appeared in 100 games and accumulated 49 points (21-28—49). The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder contributed eight points (4-4—8) in 28 games during his 2015-16 junior season and helped the Lakers reach the WCHA playoffs for the second consecutive year.
During his freshman campaign in 2013-14, Globke was named the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year while leading the WCHA in rookie scoring with 31 points (12-19—31) and tying for seventh nationally. Majoring in economics and finance, he was a two-time selection to the WCHA All-Academic Team (2014-15, 2015-16).
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning begin their Eastern Conference First Round series on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports, FS-D, FS-F). Here are five keys for Game 1:
1. Goaltending: It's always key, but it will be especially so in this series, with each team struggling to score. Ben Bishop defeated the Red Wings in the first round last year and took the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Final, and he likely will be a Vezina Trophy finalist again this season. Petr Mrazek started for the Red Wings in this series last season, but Jimmy Howard is back in net.
2. Marquee matchup: The Red Wings will reunite Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on their top line, and that should draw the Lightning's top defensive assignment. The Lightning must keep Datsyuk from working his magic and Zetterberg from building confidence after finishing the regular season with one goal in 24 games.
"They do seem to provide a spark," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
added 4:11pm, from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Of Red Wings-Lightning Game 1 programming note, from Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford:
The Players Tribune's Mike Rupp and Ryan Whitney are picking the Tampa Bay Lightning to defeat the Red Wings' "perimeter players" in 6 games, but before they got down to previewing the Wings-Bolts series, both waxed poetic about Pavel Datsyuk:
Whitney: I’m so sad that this looks like it’s Datsyuk’s last run before heading back to Russia. I’ll never forget playing against him in the ’08 finals with Pittsburgh. Going into the series, we had our matchups all planned out, and the coaches wanted the Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill pairing on Datsyuk at all times. I was on a pairing with Kris Letang at the time.
So a few shifts into Game 1, I’m on the ice and I see Datsyuk hop over the boards. All of a sudden, I hear our assistant coach Mike Yeo screaming — I’m talking screaming at the top of his lungs — “Whitney! Whitney! Get the *#$%@& off the ice! Get the *#$%@& off the ice!”
It was total panic.
Rupp: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Yeah, I’ve been there. Whenever we would play the Wings, it was like, “Hey Rupp, be sure to cheer the boys on real good tonight.” I wasn’t playing much when Datsyuk was in town.
It’s funny because — I don’t know if this is a great comparison — but Datsyuk almost reminds me of Eli Manning. You know how Eli always kind of looks like he’s a little down? Kind of slumped shoulders. Datsyuk looks like that sometimes. You underestimate him, and he makes you look like a fool. You try to lift his stick — nope. It’s cemented to the ice. He’s so ridiculously strong and nobody realizes it.
Updated 7x at 2:31 PM: There were no surprises at the Red WIngs or Lightning's morning skates ahead of tonight's Game 1 (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
It appears that Tyler Johnson will play for the Bolts, as the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith noted...
The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) for Game 1 of the teams' first-round series.
The Lightning hit the ice first at Amalie Arena, or some of them did, per the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith...
Sounds like an optional skate for #tblightning
Tyler Johnson on ice for #TBLightning optional skate. Will be game time decision
Fourteen players on ice for skate. Vasilevskiy the only goalie. #TBLightning
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.