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Wings’ ‘Match Game’ Working Out Well

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings scored some greasy goals and grinded out a win Friday in a game that was right up Luke Glendening's alley.

Glendening, Darren Helm and Frans Nielsen, three centers, teamed up to form the match line. They did a good job containing the Buffalo Sabres' top line and collaborated on goal, too, in the Red Wings' 3-1 victory at Little Caesars Arena.

"In the time they've been together, whether it was on the road or at home, they've been excellent," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "They go out against the other team's top line, they're our match line. (Justin Abdelkader) has been involved in that as well at times and I think they've done a great job.

"When you're a match line and you're above offensive lines all the time, you create turnovers because offensive lines want space and they're not giving them any space. They buy into it big-time. Glenny has five goals. That's what happens when you play from the right side of the puck and you're above and you're frustrating and you work as hard as they do. They've been a real difference-maker line for us. They free up other guys to create more offense as well."


Below, awood40 posted extended highlghts from last night's game....

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Prospect news: Griffins lose to Iowa; Borkowski powers Walleye win; Cholowski, Rasmussen score goals

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, Turner Elson and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for the Grand Rapids Griffins in a 4-2 loss to the Iowa Wild. Tom McCollum stopped 23 shots (with Matej Machovsky as his back-up) and former Griffin Landon Ferraro would score the winner for Iowa. The Grifins' website posted a recap:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Sabres wrap-up—Wings snap Sabres’ jinx

The Red Wings snapped a 3-game losing streak against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, defeating pesky Robin Lehner and the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 as the Wings earned two much-needed points via breaking out from a 3rd period deadlock.

For the Red Wings, who've now won 6 of their past 10 games, sitting at 10-8-and-2 with two games before the American Thanksgiving playoff cut-off point helps their spirits, their playoff chances, and helps prove that the Wings can--to paraphrase the Fox Sports Detroit crew--win the kind of gritty, grinding games that eluded them far too regularly a season ago...

For the 5-10-and-4 Sabres, a desperate situation becomes all the more so concerning, as the Buffalo News's Mike Harrington noted:

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Red Wings-Sabres quick take: finally, a gritty win over Buffalo!

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to earn their first win in four tries against the Buffalo Sabres, a team that's had the Wings' number over the course of four straight wins.

Detroit broke the Sabres' streak, mucking and grinding their way through 40 minutes of admittedly boring Sabres hockey before breaking through in the 3rd period, ultimately winning 3-1 over a tremendous Robin Lehner and a plucky Buffalo team.

Dylan Larkin had a great game, as did Luke Glendening of all people, and Tomas Tatar got the gamer 8:36 into the 3rd as the Wings finally started to jam rebounds and screen the Sabres' big goalie...

And at the other end of the ice, Jimmy Howard was tremendously underrated in stopping 19 hard shots in intermittent work, earning "run support" as Howard put forth another strong performance.

The Wings needed to beat the Sabres, especially given the emotional let-down off the Flames, and Detroit's going to need to win Sunday's game against the Avs as well.

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Flames get suspended, too…Well, Matthew Tkachuk does

TSN reports that Matthew Tkachuk got suspended for one game for hacking Luke Witkowski in the back of the legs:

Update: The NHL did post videos of Tkachuk and Witkowski's suspensions after all:

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Video- Game Day Preview Wings/Sabres

from the Wings' YouTube page,

Featuring Carley Johnston, Ken Kal, Luke Witkowski, Jeff Blashill, Dylan Larkin, and Nick Jensen at Little Caesars Arena on 11/17/17.

Update: Here's the Sabres' game-day preview:

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A multi-million-dollar paper jam

From Sportsnet's Luke Fox's "Quick Shifts":

Once a restricted free agent’s arbitration hearing is complete, the arbitrator has 48 hours or less to file his ruling.

Ritch Winter, the agent for Tomas Tatar, had a gut feeling that the arbitrator who heard his client’s case with the Red Wings this summer would file an early decision.

Indeed, the arbitrator planned to send his ruling to the league an hour earlier than he did, but he decided to print out and read over his paperwork one last time. He had some printer troubles (been there — am I right?!) that delayed the filing, which arrived a mere seven minutes after Winter and the Wings signed off on a four-year, $21.2 million deal.

The ruling was for one-year and $5 million.

“So Tomas, who’s not performing quite at the level he’d like this year, is pretty thankful that happened,” Winter says.

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USA Today’s Allen talks ‘rebuilding on the fly’

USA Today's Kevin Allen attempts to navigate a path for the Red Wings' "rebuild on the fly," suggesting that the Wings may eventually have to part ways with a young player to faciliate acquiring a young defenseman:

But general manager Ken Holland is trying to compete for a playoff spot while slowly turning over his roster. To be successful in doing that, Larkin, Mantha and Athanasiou have to become top players.

There are promising signs.

The 6-5 Mantha has shown his power and skill with 10 goals and 19 points in 19 games, and the speedy Larkin is flying around the ice with confidence. He has 18 points.

After sitting out the start of the season with a contract dispute, Athanasiou, another flashy skater, has four goals and six points in nine games. He's on pace for over 30 goals.

Athanasiou is a wild card in the rebuilding process because of his difficult contract negotiations. Plus, Athanasiou and coach Jeff Blashill haven't always agreed about how Athanasiou should play.

If Athanasiou has a productive season, most of the problems go away. But the parties do have to go through another contract negotiation next summer. If it turns contentious, the Red Wings might be able to use him in a trade for a young defenseman. It’s another option they may have to explore.

That's all to say finding a premium defenseman is the hardest piece to find in a rebuild.

Allen continues...

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Red Wings-Sabres game-day articles: game set-ups and stats, FYI’s and more

The Detroit Red Wings host the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/MSG B/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM), and the morning skate revealed a Detroit lineup in flux as the Wings may or may not dress Brian Lashoff in Trevor Daley's place, and may or may not have Darren Helm's services this evening (possibly necessitating another 11-forward-7-D combination).

Jimmy Howard will start opposite Robin Lehner in goal, and former Grand Rapids Griffin Kyle Criscuolo will make his NHL debut against his former team's parent club.

The Buffalo News's Mike Harrington posted a set of five "Things to Know" about tonight's game. Among them:

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Khan: Blashill explains decision to recall Lashoff, not Hicketts + Griffins stuff

MLive's Ansar Khan very specifically spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill about the Wings' decision to recall Brian Lashoff over Joe Hicketts:

"First of all, I expect Danny (DeKeyser) to be back on Sunday," Blashill said. "I think with young players, whether it be Hicketts or somebody else, one, before you bring them up you'd like to know they're playing for sure. Two, we try not to have a roller coaster with our young players, where they're up and they're down and they're up and they're down. He needs a chance at some point, but you'd like him to get 10, 15, 20 games when that chance happens."

Hicketts has one goal and four assists in 16 games with the Griffins, in his second pro season. Many question whether his size (5-8, 180) will prevent him from playing in the NHL on a regular basis, but he moves the puck well and has an element of grit.

Blashill continued...

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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.


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