The Malik Report
He was one of the best all-round defensemen in the Original Six era, and Marcel Pronovost was still scouting for the New Jersey Devils:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mrazek has shutouts in two of the past three games and is the main reason the Lightning can't find the net. But the Red Wings are playing much better in front of him than they did the first two games. They're executing in their own zone, spending more time in the offensive zone and playing the Lightning tight in the neutral zone.
"Cutting them off in the neutral zone is big," Detroit forward Drew Miller said. "They're a team that wants to play with speed and a lot of pace, so if you take that away they got to figure out different ways to play. I think getting in on their D was big and making them turn the puck over or take some hits."
The Red Wings also are deeper up front since Game 3 with the return of Justin Abdelkader and the emergence of Riley Sheahan, who's scored two goals in three games and more engaged physically after struggling the first two games.
"We got Abdelkader back, so what did Abby coming back do?" Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It allowed (Henrik Zetterberg) to move into the middle. It allowed Sheahan to be in a better matchup spot. It just gave us overall depth there. The other thing is Riley Sheahan after a tough start is really become Riley again. Suddenly, we've got four centers instead of two centers, it's a big difference.
"For whatever reason, we seem to be more comfortable. We're executing better and playing with more pace and limiting their opportunities more."
Below, watch Craig Custance and Katie Strang of ESPN discuss tonight's game 6...
The Wings did not practice today and Babock informed the media no injuries from last night.
On the Tampa side, this from Bryan Burns of the Lightning website,
Plenty of things that went right for the Lightning in the regular season have suddenly disappeared. The three biggest?
1. REGULAR SEASON SCORING DOESN’T EQUAL PLAYOFF SCORING
The 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightning scored more regular-season goals than any other team in franchise history.
The previous record of 246 established in 2005-06 was shattered when the Bolts netted 259 goals this season. Tampa Bay had more goals than any other team in the NHL (Dallas, with 257, was second) and averaged 3.16 per game.
In the playoffs, however, the Lightning attack has been systematically dismantled by a veteran Detroit team that has given the Bolts little room to maneuver on the ice.
The Red Wings were a middle-of-the-road defensive team during the regular season, their 2.57 goals-against average ranking 15th in the league.
Aside from Game 2 when the Lightning put five on the board, which, increasingly, is looking more and more like an anomaly, the Bolts haven’t been able to generate much of anything against Detroit in the postseason though. Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, who split time with Jimmy Howard during the regular season and wasn’t handed the starting job for good until the conclusion of the regular season, has shut out Tampa Bay twice in his postseason debut.
But in reality, Mrazek hasn’t had to work all that hard as the players in front of him have done an outstanding job limiting the Lightning’s chances on goal. And when the Bolts do get something on frame, Mrazek has been steady in cleaning it up.
Plus this from Craig Peterson of the Wings website,
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Claude Noel to break down the action. Noel will be checking in throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Claude Noel was extremely impressed with how focused, structured and determined the Red Wings were after what he called a demoralizing defeat in Game 4 on Thursday.
"Detroit was on the road and basically just shut them right down," Noel said. "That bounce-back was impressive. Talk about a demoralizing loss [Thursday], but there was no residue from that Game 4, that bump in the road. And to me that was impressive."
The Lightning seemed to have plenty of motivation and momentum entering Game 5 at home, one game after Tyler Johnson scored in overtime to cap a three-goal rally for a 3-2 win in Game 4 in Detroit.
But Detroit shut Tampa Bay down in Game 5.
"That's experience within the room, the coaching staff and with the players," Noel said. "You have some players there who have been through a lot, guys who have been around and guys having confidence in their team. The game went exactly like Game 4, but only this time they kept it up for a full 60 [minutes]."
The legend of Saint Petr grows, and two other players had key roles in getting their teams to the next round in tonight’s top 3 stars.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Here are three thoughts after a game that put the heavily favored Lightning a game away from elimination:
1. There's no such thing as a perfect 60-minute hockey game
The key to Detroit's plan was shutting down Tyler Johnson, whose had three points in Game 4 including the OT winner, and has proven far more dangerous than Steven Stamkos. To his credit he consistently got to the dangerous areas, but he either just missed on connecting passes or had to deal with Pavel Datsyuk stuffed inside his jersey. The Magic Man didn't crack the final trio for the Selke Trophy, but he proved again on Saturday that he's one of the best defensive players in the game.
First, the NHL's recap of the Wings 4-0 win over the Lightning...
Below, Mike Babcock post-game and awood40's exended highlights...
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
This sudden and unexpected power outage is partly the Lightning's own doing. Leading goal-scorer Steven Stamkos has been invisible. Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan, both 20-goal scorers, have been ghosts. The power play is on the fritz to the point where the Lightning should decline all future Detroit penalties.
Give some credit to the savvy and well-prepared Red Wings, who have turned the rink into a mosh pit full of bodies with no room to breathe, let alone skate.
And, if you want to do a little bit of whining, the officiating has let the Red Wings get away with some of the clutching and grabbing and interfering that you can't get away with in the regular season.
Then again, this isn't the regular season and, when you get right down to it, that's the point. The Red Wings are playing the type of grinding, irritating defensive style that you need for postseason success, and the Lightning is still searching for that extra gear. Detroit deserves to be a game away from winning this series.
"There's not a whole lot of room," Lightning center Valtteri Filppula said. "We don't get odd-man rushes. I don't know. They played real well, and we aren't getting a whole lot."
Check that. The Lightning isn't getting anything. Nothing. Zip.
Forget winning a game. It would be a major accomplishment at this point to get a lead.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
From the NHL:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / APRIL 25, 2015
STARTING TIMES SET FOR 2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST ROUND GAMES SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY
NEW YORK (April 25, 2015) – The National Hockey League today announced updated start time and national television information for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round games scheduled for Monday, April 27.
The starting time for Game 6 of the series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings has been set for 7 p.m. ET in Detroit. In the U.S., the game will be televised on CNBC. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and TVA Sports.
The starting time for Game 7 of the series between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders has been set for 7:30 p.m. ET in Washington, DC. In the U.S., the game will be televised on NBCSN. In Canada, the game will be on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
I'm a biased Red Wings fan pretending to be an objective blogger on the internet, and I understand that Jason Garrison was very annoyed at Justin Abdelkader for the accidental/apologized-for ankle injury and/or concussion suffered in the Wings and Bolts' last regular-season meeting, but this reminded me of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger's double-teaming of Tomas Holmstrom circa 2007:
Abdelkader emerged from the exchange with his head still on his shoulders and no head injury, but the Lightning continued to attempt to injure Red Wings players for the balance of the third period, and usually the team that's the first to crack in the physical department has the shortest spring.
The Wings scored the 3-0 goal on the Stamkos penalty; why Garrison wasn't penalized, and why both sides weren't penalized on some of these exchanges, is beyond me.
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.