The Malik Report
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
“As a team, I don’t think we are quite over the hump yet,” Vanek said. “We are a fragile team, a team trying to learn to win. We have some great leadership, but we also have some guys who haven’t been there, done that. When you are losing, it’s tough.”
The Red Wings took important steps by scoring six goals against the Penguins on Saturday and then winning a 1-0 tug-a-war against Montreal on Monday, but they are still four points out of a playoff spot, needing to climb past Florida, Ottawa and Tampa Bay before getting to third-place Toronto in the Atlantic.
To qualify for the playoffs for a 26th consecutive season, the Red Wings need an extended winning streak, a lofty goal considering the current two-game streak is the longest they’ve had since early December.
“It’s a game of confidence,” Vanek said. “And we got a little bit against Pittsburgh.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Darren Helm is expected to return this weekend, general manager Ken Holland said. So he might be back Friday at Buffalo or Sunday at home against the New York Rangers. Helm has been out since Nov. 15 with a dislocated shoulder.
The Red Wings need to clear a roster spot. That could require putting someone on waivers, perhaps Tomas Jurco.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (groin) has been practicing but Holland said he's not sure when he'll be cleared to play.
more Wings talk, mostley on Tatar's shoulder...
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
For the first time in a while, the Red Wings are making us notice. The fans at Joe Louis Arena certainly noticed, standing and roaring as the game ended Monday, a 1-0 victory over first-place Montreal. The Wings just beat two of the best teams in the league back to back, and did it with youthful flair and veteran savvy, with a wide-open offense against the Penguins, then a tight defense against the Canadiens.
Of course, this could be a fleeting burst, like the blast of an air horn. Seldom do fortunes dramatically, permanently shift in two games. But in the race between growing old and growing up, youth is starting to catch up, and the Wings will not quietly bid farewell to an old arena and a long playoff streak.
The next two weeks are enormous, and not just because the Wings play five of seven at home. The March 1 trade deadline looms, and nobody expects them to be buyers. They’re seventh in their division, four points out of a playoff spot.
The logical strategy is for them to be sellers if they’re not within a few points of the playoffs. The problem is that’s almost completely foreign to this franchise, and they will not adopt it easily.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Turning point, the Detroit Red Wings were asked? Turn to Boston, they replied.
It speaks to how much the Wings have struggled this season that winning two straight games begets scrutiny. No one parried the question of whether back-to-back victories over Pittsburgh and Montreal will stoke a turnaround better than Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who smiled and said, “I'm looking forward to a day off, and then we have Boston next day. That’s the longest I look.”
At least the Wings can look ahead to hosting the Bruins on Wednesday (8 p.m., NBCSN) with a bit of swagger. It was earned on the strength of beating the defending champion Penguins, 6-3, and then shutting out Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens, 1-0, on Monday.
“It’s good to see we can play both kinds of games,” Frans Nielsen said after Monday’s outing. “It’s good to see we have that ability.”
If Detroit falls out of the playoff race before the deadline, general manager Ken Holland has to move his unrestricted free agents, including Vanek. A great fit would be in Chicago, where the Blackhawks could use some veteran help on the wing.
-Craig Custance of ESPN. The ESPN crew discusses more players who may be available.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on TSN 690 Montreal's "The Morning Show" yesterday, and I'll quote TSN's summary of his 20-minute interview:
The GM of the Red Wings, Ken Holland, joined the Morning Show to talk about his goalie situation, Thomas Vanek, the plan for his team at the deadline and how he knew the Canadiens were going to be a good team.
George here: I've been ill and am going to the doctor today to get things sorted out. I should return shortly.
from Dana Wakiji of the Wings website,
Two straight wins against top teams: The Wings had not gotten two straight wins in regulation since October and they had not had much success against some of the better teams like Pittsburgh and Montreal. But after beating those two teams back-to-back in very different ways - a 6-3 fast-paced game against the Penguins and a 1-0 defensive battle against the Canadiens - it helps build confidence.
Quotable: "As a coach you want perfection, so you want to be great defensively and score lots of goals but the game doesn't always go that way. Sometimes games can get into track meets and you've got to outscore your opponent. Certainly Pittsburgh's a team that plays in a way that you're going to get opportunities for sure. But they're going to get opportunities, too. Montreal plays a little different. It was I thought a pretty tight game. I didn't think either team had tons of chances. I thought we created a good amount and probably missed the net too much. I think we've got to make sure over the long haul that we're real good defensively and I thought we were real good defensively tonight." - Blashill
Watch the extended game highlights below...
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Maybe, just maybe, don’t close out this season on the Red Wings just yet.
They won their second consecutive game — for the first time since early December — defeating divison-leading Montreal, 1-0, on Monday.
The two consecutive victories were the first consecutive wins since Dec. 4-6 against the New York Islanders and Winnipeg. It was the first time the Wings’ had won two consecutive regulation victories since, incredibly, Oct. 22-25 (San Jose and Carolina).
But with wins over Pittsburgh (Saturday, 6-3) and Montreal, two of the best teams in the East, there is suddenly some hope for the Red Wings (19-19-6, 44 points).
A lot of skating, not many scoring chances from both teams and the Wings walk away with a 1-0 win.
Two wins in a row for the Wings, outscored the Penguins on Saturday and limited Montreal's offensive chances today.
Only two videos below...
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Jared Coreau led #RedWings out for warmups, so he's starting today.
No changes to #RedWings lines:
No changes to #RedWings defense:
Jurco, Ott and Sproul healthy scratched for #RedWings
added 2:48pm, Khan corrects the lines...
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.