The Malik Report
Updated with post-game videos at 11:24 PM: The Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders was just plain weird. The Wings came out strongly but hit energy and "compete level" walls when the Islanders scored their first goal, they surrendered a pair of second-period goals in 1:06 that put the game out of reach, and while Pavel Datsyuk ensured that the Wings wouldn't be shut out, the one particularly soft goal that Jimmy Howard gave up served as the salt-away marker in that 4-1 loss.
You could argue that Howard didn't have a good game and be correct, but he didn't get much help from the players in front of him, and for whatever reason, a team playing its second game in 2 days, its 3rd in 4 nights and 5th in 8 looked absolutely mentally and physically exhausted.
This reflected the stinging nature of the loss:
The Islanders were happy to both bounce back from a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday and to finally beat the Wings, as NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright noted:
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Jimmy Howard is still waiting for the puck to start bouncing his way.
His miserable season continued Monday afternoon in a Presidents Day special at the Barclays Center, as the New York Islanders defeated the Red Wings 4-1.
The Islanders scored three second-period goals, which meant another tough day for Howard, who saw his personal winless streak reach nine games (0-6-3) with the loss. Howard hasn’t won a game since Dec. 3 against Arizona.
“Jimmy played good; he just has to keep focusing on playing good hockey,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He can’t score more goals for us. He has to keep playing as well as he can.”
Howard declined to speak with reporters after the game....
“Jimmy has decided he’s going to keep his head up and keep working hard to get better,” said Blashill of Howard’s approach. “He’s making sure he’s putting himself in the best possible position and he looked extremely prepared.
“It just didn’t go his way.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
You may take this for what you will:
As mentioned last night, Toledo Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg "Haseked" his way to a big 3-2 shootout win for the Toledo Walleye over the Fort Wayne Komets, and this save is being talked about all over the interweb (per HockeyWebcast):
The Detroit Red Wings faced off against the New York Islanders on a President's Day matinee on Monday, and the Wings had the opportunity to sweep their season series against New York. Detroit was placing significant trust in Jimmy Howard's ability to deliver a win, and...
It's hard to say whether the Wings were rewarded by placing their trust in Howard because the Wings played so badly in front of him. Howard gave up a strange one on the first goal and a stinker on what would ultimately be the final margin of New York's victory, 4-1...
But Detroit stank in terms of its defensive coverage, Detroit's mental and physical reserves were exhausted by the 3-games-in-4-nights-including-a-weird-matinee schedule, and the Wings simply didn't execute on the ice, no matter what excuse or explanation you want to use to dissect the 4-1 loss.
Detroit simply wasn't good enough, and sure, that's from the goal on out, but I don't pin this one on Howard. I pin this one on a sleepy Wings team not playing strongly enough in all three zones, on turnovers and blown coverage in which too many Islanders players scored surrounded by Wings defenders, and I pin this one on not getting the first goal and not scoring on 4 power plays.
From the NHL:
DATSYUK, LUNDQVIST AND MARCHAND NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK
NEW YORK (Feb. 15, 2016) – Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Feb. 14.
FIRST STAR – PAVEL DATSYUK, C, DETROIT RED WINGS
Datsyuk shared the League lead with five goals and tied for second overall with seven points in four games to power the Red Wings (29-18-9, 67 points) to seven out of a possible eight standings points and second place in the Atlantic Division. He scored twice, his first multi-goal game of the season, in a 3-0 victory over the division-leading Florida Panthers Feb. 8. Datsyuk then collected one assist in a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Feb. 10 before posting one goal – and scoring in the shootout – in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Feb. 12. He capped the week with 2-1—3, including his 900th NHL point, in a 6-5 triumph over the Boston Bruins Feb. 14. The 37-year-old Sverdlovsk, Russia, native – who has spent his entire career with the Red Wings – became the sixth player in franchise history to reach the 900-point milestone (309-593—902 in 928 GP), joining Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov. He has registered 11-22—33 in 41 outings this season.
Jeff Blashill confirmed Jimmy Howard starts today and Thomas Greiss will be in the net for the Islanders.
No other lineup changes are expected and remember, puck drops just after 1:00pm ET today.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Top line clicking just fine
Jeff Blashill's decision to reunite Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at the start of the homestand has worked as well as anyone could have expected. The two have tremendous chemistry and Justin Abdelkader, doing the heavy lifting, is the right complement to the line.
In the past five games, Datsyuk has five goals and nine points, Zetterberg has three goals and seven points and Abdelkader has five assists – he's also provided a net presence on goals in which he didn't receive a point.
Kronwall return on the horizon?
Niklas Kronwall might return by the end of the week, or maybe not. It depends on how his knee feels after arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 18. He has skated a couple of times by himself and once with the team, briefly. He'll need a couple of practices to get some of his conditioning back.
The Red Wings have gone 6-4-1 without Kronwall. When he returns, Jakub Kindl and Xavier Ouellet likely will be sent back to Grand Rapids, but who sits out? Assuming Jonathan Ericsson (lower-body injury, day to day) is back, it won't be an easy decision. Perhaps they'll alternate Brendan Smith and Alexey Marchenko, even though both have played well.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Mrazek couldn't be blamed for all five of Boston's goals – the most he has allowed in 39 games this season – since he was screened on a couple of them.
But it didn't matter since Detroit's six goals were a season high.
"You know at some point he's going to have a night where he doesn't execute at a great level and tonight was that night," said coach Jeff Blashill. "Our team was able to stay with it and find a way to get the win a little bit for him. The other thing I thought with Petr, I thought at the end he made big saves.
"He came to the bench after the fourth and the fifth and he kind of looked at me and smiled. I kind of looked at him and smiled. Because I know the one thing he does have is the ability to stay with things and I thought he continued to battle right to the end.
"Petr plays the game to win. He doesn't play for stats, he doesn't play for anything pretty, he plays to win and he found a way to win."
The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo suggests that the Red Wings' 6-5 victory over the Boston Bruins, in which both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored 2 goals, emphasizes the need for roster reinforcement via trade (cap sense be damned?):
They do have needs. The Red Wings need a solid, stay-at-home defenseman, preferably one with size, and a bigger forward with the grit and guile to score goals inside.
The pipe dream of many Red Wings fans is they will land Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos. A far more likely scenario has the Red Wings acquiring talent such as Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin or Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd, a tough left winger both mentally and physically, the latter slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Ladd, 30, can score inside. He does set up in front of the net. He is capable of helping the Red Wings get more “dirty” goals, the type which mean so much during the postseason. At this stage, the Red Wings are too dependent on skill.
And Ladd played significant roles on Stanley Cup-winning teams with Carolina and Chicago.
The Red Wings have traditionally made trades at the deadline. Yet, in recent years, they have been more tweaks than major moves. The time has come for significant deals by general manager Ken Holland. There might be no better time than now.
Caputo continues, but I've got to respectfully disagree here.
Looking at the roster in four dimensions--including time--and the Wings have to find the cap space to accommodate Justin Abdelkader's $4.25 million salary, to re-sign Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, Alexey Marchenko and Riley Sheahan as restricted free agents. Even if the team trades Jimmy Howard, it's going to have to take money and/or a back-up goaltender back in the equation...And I don't know how adding a player makes cap sense long-term, especially if you're talking about someone with a $5-6 million salary in the offing like Ladd.
I see it making even less sense in terms of the assets the Wings would have to surrender for a rental like Ladd. When you see what Mattias Janmark is doing in Dallas, and you know that the Wings would have to give up serious assets for Ladd, that makes me incredibly uncomfortable with the proposition.
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