The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Ride Howard for another game?
Might Jimmy Howard make his season-high third start in a row Tuesday in Tampa Bay, when he'd be seeking his third win in a row?
Petr Mrazek (flu-like condition) has been on the ice for only 15 minutes during an optional morning skate since Tuesday's game in Philadelphia and said he needs a couple of practices before playing again.
So the Red Wings might opt to stick with Howard, who is 3-2-1 in his past seven appearances, with a 2.15 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.
Continued net-front presence needed
One of the keys to Saturday's win was getting a net-front presence on three goals. Tomas Tatar (with the deflection) and Anthony Mantha converged at the net on the first goal, Justin Abdelkader screened Roberto Luongo on the second goal and Luke Glendening tipped in Dylan Larkin's shot for the game-winner.
They'll need to do the same against 6-foot-7 Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop and others.
The Red Wings don't have a "tragic number" in Yahoo's annual "Playoff Death Watch" sweepstakes of doom yet, but the Wings' playoff situation is desperate enough that there is room for cheering Philadelphia Flyers' starter Michal Neuvirth's regular-season-ending "lower-body injury."
The Wings enter the final 10 games of their regular-season campaign in good spirits, having earned two necessary points against the Panthers on Saturday and having enjoyed a day off on Sunday, but the Lightning, Canadiens and Penguins all present difficult match-ups this week (as well as some playoff position-wrangling possibilities).
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mantha, in three games with the Red Wings, has displayed some of the qualities the club covets. He has generated some scoring chances. He uses his 6-foot-5, 214-pound frame to drive to the net and can provide a net presence. He has a good shot and isn't afraid to use it.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Mantha has done some good things during his first week in the league, but he also has much to learn.
"He just looks like he's got good confidence to him, he's not afraid to make a play, which is a great thing," Blashill said before Saturday's 5-3 victory over Florida. "He's just got to make sure he does a good job on the wall (on breakouts) and in all those defensive areas.
"But that's a continued learned process. The challenge is you got to do it every single night."
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The loud roar and cheering in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room could easily be heard from the hallway.
It was minutes after a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers Saturday at BB&T Center. This has the potential to be a signature moment this season, if all goes their way the final 10 games.
The joy emanating from the room was unmistakable.
"I think we just knew how big this game is for us and especially when you're down 3-1," Tomas Tatar said. "I feel it's more special when you battle through and come back. It's a big two points, everybody played great and we're feeling good."
The Red Wings (36-25-11) opened up a three-point lead on Philadelphia in the battle for the final wild-card playoff spot in the East. The Flyers have two games in hand.
"We all know it's a big game. Every game going (forward) is going to be huge for us," Henrik Zetterberg said. "Tonight, (Niklas Kronwall) was back, so I think the little extra celebration after the game was for him. Obviously, we've had some tough games in this building the last couple of years. It was nice to finally get one and the two points."
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the BCHL, Chase Perry stopped 24 of 27 shots in the Wenatchee Wild's 4-3 loss to Chilliwack. Wenatchee trails Chilliwack 2 games to 0 in their first-round series;
In regular season play, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins followed the Wings' lead, or perhaps vice versa. Grand Rapids rallied from 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 deficits to defeat the Texas Stars 6-5 in overtime, winning their 13th straight game.
Jeff Hoggan had 2 goals, Andy Miele and Louis-Marc Aubry had 2 assists each, Mitch Callahan and Eric Tangradi registered a goal and an assist apiece, and Ryan Sproul had a 3-pont (1G, 2A) night in the win.
The Griffins' website filed a recap:
The Red Wings secured a huge win on Saturday night, rallying from an ugly 3-1 deficit to rally for an essential and incredibly satisfying 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, I mean Spacey in Space night.
CBS Sports' Adam Gretz took note of 4 reasons why the Wings' win matters so much, and reason #1 is first and foremost in this recap:
From Grand Rapids Griffins announcer Bob Kaser...
And the Toledo Blade:
Former Toledo Walleye forward Alden Hirschfeld, who underwent brain surgery on Monday, is on the mend and thankful for the support he has received.
Hirschfeld, a 28-year-old Sylvania native, said on Twitter today that he is “finally feeling better.” He also said he appreciated those who have expressed their concern.
Hirschfeld suffered a seizure during a game while playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Jan. 8. He chose to have brain surgery in the hopes of curing the condition that has led to the seizures.
The procedure to remove a malformation was completed at a Grand Rapids, Mich., hospital on Monday.
The Red Wings' fourth and final regular season game against the Florida Panthers was far from a "gimme" game. The Panthers were bound and determined to stave off the Bruins and Lightning in the Atlantic Division title race, and the fact that they could put a significant dent in Detroit's playoff hopes was simply bonus material on "Kevin Spacey Night."
Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings needed this one, and needed it badly.
Ideally, you don't win one of the most important games of the season by rallying from a 3-1 deficit, but that's what the Wings did in a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Detroit's power play finally clicked, going 2-for-3; Jimmy Howard was huge despite surrendering some early markers behind a turnover-prone defense; Datsyuk (1G 1A), Larkin (1G 1A), Abdelkader (2A) and of all people, Jonathan Ericsson (1A) and Niklas Kronwall (2A), who were both -2 at one point, aided the attack, and the Wings got a gritty-as-hell goal from Luke Glendening as the gamer as they took Spacey in Space night away from Florida while going up 3 points on Philly.
This game was rousing, this game was scintillating and exciting, it was terrifying as all hell get out and it was INTENSE, but the most important part of it was that it was a Red Wings win via perhaps the most complete effort Detroit's put together in 2016!
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. From Jeff Blashill's pre-game media availability:
3. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video, starring Ken Kal, Jimmy Howard and Andreas Athanasiou:
Updated 4x at 2:20 PM: The Red Wings held a highly optional morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Florida Panthers (7 PM EDT on FSD Plus/FS Florida/NHL Network/97.1 FM), but it appears that Niklas Kronwall will return from his slightly sprained knee this evening, as MLive's Ansar Khan reports:
"I believe he is playing," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "That was the plan after practice yesterday and I haven't heard anything different since."
In case you aren't familiar with the stakes of tonight's game:
The Red Wings are desperate for points as they battle the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins for one of the two wild card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Atlantic Division-leading Panthers have won four of their past five. Florida has won two of the three meetings this season between the teams, including one in overtime. This is the final meeting between the clubs.
Update #1: Here's the Panthers' game-day video:
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.