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Prospect news: Walleye lose to Eagles, playoff ends

Of prospect-related note:

In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye blew 1-0 and 3-1 leads as the Colorado Eagles scored 5 straight goals, eliminating the Walleye from the playoffs via a 6-3 victory.

Tyson Spink, Beau Schmitz and Dane Walters scored for the Walleye, Shane Berschbach registered his 14th and 15th playoff assists and Jake Paterson stopped 31 of the 36 shots he faced (Colorado's final goal was an empty-netter), but the Walleye's playoff run ended short of a Kelly Cup Final appearance.

Update: Here's the Walleye's website's recap:

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Prospect news: Grand Rapids Griffins defeat San Jose 3-1 to open Western Conference Final

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, in the Western Conference Final, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the San Jose Barracuda 3-1 in Game 1 of the WCF.

Grand Rapids got two assists from Eric Tangradi, goals from Mitch Callahan and Ben Street in the first period and Kyle Criscuolo Matt Ford (power play) in the 3rd, and Jared Coreau stopped 26 of 27 shots as the Griffins killed six San Jose power plays.

The Griffins looked a little rusty after not having played for a week, and Tyler Bertuzzi wasn't quite himself, but the Griffins played strongly and did a great job of getting to goaltender Trevor Grosenick early and often, firing 28 shots his way.

The series resumes on Sunday night at the SAP Center (on ESPN 96.1 and the AHL Live), starting at 8 PM EDT, and the series will then shift to Grand Rapids for games on Wednesday the 24th, Friday the 26th and, if necessary, Saturday the 27th.

Update #1: Here's the AHL's website's recap:

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Jake Paterson takes part in a roundtable Q and A

The ECHL's website held a roundtable with the four goaltenders taking part in Conference Final play, and Jake Paterson took part. Among Paterson's questions and answers:

As a goalie in the ECHL for a few years, what has helped you most in your preparation for the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs?

Paterson:  What has helped me for the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs is the preparation that the coaching staff and the players bring to the rink every day throughout the season. With the leadership we have on this team they really teach you how to prepare the right way no matter the circumstance.

Talk about the transition from regular season to playoffs as a tender. Are there any drastic changes in your opinion? Pace? Mindset? Ritual or Superstitions? Is it the same game or completely different?

Paterson: I would say the transition from regular season to playoffs is simple. At the end of the day it’s still hockey and as a goalie all you can focus on is giving your team a chance to win on every night.

What surprised you most from the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs?

Paterson: I wouldn’t say this has come as a surprise to me but the most exciting part of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs has been how loud and electric our Walleye fans have been.

The roundtable continues...

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Prospect news: Sambrook scores a goal as Otters win at Memorial Cup

Of prospect-related note:

At the Memorial Cup in Windsor, Jordan Sambrook scored a goal and finished at +1 with 1 shot and a minor penalty in the Erie Otters' 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. You can watch highlights from the game here.

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A Griffins Game-Day Preview and Griffins-Barracuda notes

Ahead of tonight's Conference Final-opening game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and San Jose Barracuda (9 PM EDT on ESPN 96.1 FM and The AHL Live), the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a superb game-day preview video...

And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned a "What to Know" article listing seven items to watch for this evening:

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Prospect news: Walleye lose in Triple Overtime to Eagles

Of prospect-related note:

In the ECHL Conference Final, the Toledo Walleye looked to goaltender Jake Paterson for a key performance as they attempted to snap a 2-1 deficit against the Colorado Eagles, and Paterson did his part, stopping 39 shots, but the Walleye blew 3 1-goal leads en route to a 5-4, triple overtime loss to the Eagles.

A.J. Jenks scored 2 goals, Matt Caito had 3 assists and Zach Nastasiuk had a goal and an assist, but the Walleye surrendered a game-tying goal with 2:09 remaining in regulation, and 3:07 into the 3rd OT, Colorado's Matt Garbowsky scored the winner on a defenseman-tipped shot from the slot.

Toledo now trails the best-of-seven series 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday at 9:05 PM EDT.

The Walleye's website posted a recap...

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Three Griffins-Barracuda series set-ups

The Grand Rapids Griffins begin their Conference Final series against the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday night (9 PM EDT on ESPN 96.1 FM and The AHL Live), and Sportnset's Patrick Williams sets up the series statistically...

Each team brings potent offensive firepower. Grand Rapids has an AHL-best 4.25 goals per game in the playoffs, and San Jose sits second at 3.50. The Barracuda feature the AHL’s leading playoff scorer in forward Ryan Carpenter. He is 7-6-13 through 10 games.

The Grand Rapids power play finished first during the regular season and is clicking at 22.2 per cent in the playoffs, second-best in the league. San Jose is fourth at 20.5 per cent.

They also each play a game built around puck possession. San Jose’s 38.2 shots per game rank first in the AHL, and Grand Rapids is third (35.6).

San Jose has one of the AHL’s best blue-lines and is headed by Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan.

For all of their offensive exploits, each team has a goaltender capable of taking over a series. San Jose’s Troy Grosenick won the Baz Bastien Award as the AHL’s top goaltender, and has carried that play through the first two rounds (2.21 GAA, .920 save percentage).

Jared Coreau, who spent part of the regular season with the Red Wings, has a .908 playoff save percentage for Grand Rapids but posted a .917 mark in the regular season.

And the Free Press's Helene St. James posted something of a Barracuda scouting report...

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Blashill pleased with the World Championship performances of Larkin, DeKeyser and Howard

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill discussed the World Championship performances of his charges on Team USA--Dylan Larkin, Danny DeKeyser and Jimmy Howard--with both the Windsor Star's Bob Duff and MLive's Ansar Khan. Larkin in particular earned an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Blashill, as he told Khan...

Detroit's Dylan Larkin, a 20-year-old alternate captain on a young squad, led the U.S. with eight assists and his 10 points ranked second Johnny Gaudreau's 12 points (six goals, six assists). Larkin led U.S. forwards in average ice time and posted a team-best plus-7 rating. Gaudreau, Larkin and Anders Lee were named Team USA's top players of the tournament.

"I thought Larkin had an excellent tournament," Blashill said. "He was very good going up against other team's best players. He checked well and created offense. He played the kind of hockey you need to win."

Larkin gained more valuable experience at center, where Blashill intends to play him at the start of next season. Larkin struggled to adapt at center at the start of 2016-17 and played most of the season at wing before moving back to the middle in the final month.

Henrik Zetterberg turns 37 in October and Frans Nielsen is 33. The organization has no projected top-two centers in its system, so it's important for Larkin to settle into the position in the next year or two.

"I think his defensive instincts at center are really good," Blashill said. "He anticipates where the puck is going in the defensive zone and he's able to come up with the puck. I thought he produced at an efficient manner. He created chances without giving up much. That's the challenge for a hockey player."

And Blashill told Duff that he was encouraged by DeKeyser and Howard's performances as well:

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Wakiji, Regner set up the Griffins-Barracuda series

Tomorrow, the Grand Rapids Griffins will battle the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL's Western Conference Final, and DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji and Art Regner spoke with the team about the long travel, Tyler Bertuzzi and Evgeny Svechnikov's offensive performances, Dylan McIlrath's intimidation factor and more:

The Grand Rapids Griffins are traveling far to try to win a Calder Cup. The team flew to San Jose Thursday so they could have a couple of days to acclimate to the time change before beginning the AHL's Western Conference Finals Saturday against the San Jose Barracuda. The 1,947 miles traveled is 128 more than the Griffins have ever gone for a playoff series.

Instead of a 2-2-1-1-1 format, the Griffins will play two games in San Jose, then return to Grand Rapids for three games, if necessary. If the series is not decided then, they will return to San Jose for Games 6 and 7.

"I don't mind the 2-3-2 format," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said. "I think it's not as big an advantage for the higher seed versus going 2-2-1-1-1. The travel is going to be the same for both of us. The biggest thing is the time change for me."

Rookie defenseman Joe Hicketts pointed out the advantage in this series to the 2-3-2 schedule.

"I think it's good for travel, obviously," Hicketts said. "It would be tough to go back and forth four times or whatever. I think you go into the first two games hoping for a split and then you have an opportunity to come home and play three and get some momentum. Then if you have to go back out there, you're hoping that you carry that momentum from home and the home crowd to the road."

Wakiji and Regner continue...

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Wallner: Svechnikov hitting the right notes in the playoffs

Evgeny Svechnikov sits second on the Grand Rapids Griffins in playoff scoring with 3 goals, 6 assists and 9 points registered over the course of 8 games played--one point behind Tyler Bertuzzi's 10. Ahead of the start of the Griffins-San Jose Barracuda series tomorrow night, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner profiles the even-keeled forward:

"He's producing for us, playing a team game," [Griffins coach Todd] Nelson said. "What's nice about this series (coming up) is you can't pick one line and try and shut it down. We're both deep. And Svech is a big part of it with us (with Kyle Criscuolo and Matt Lorito)."

Svecnhnikov's performance is raising his stock with the Detroit Red Wings. His  chances of making the team out of camp are slim, given the Red Wings would want him on a top two line, but he should get a call-up at some point similar to this season. He appeared in two games in April for his first exposure to the NHL.

"Oh, I'd say so, for sure," Nelson said of his improved stock. "He's playing his best hockey right now."

"Everyone in the room knows he has a really bright future," Bertuzzi said. "He's a really good guy in the room and his skills on the ice are next to none. I've been with him (on a line during the season) and he makes it really easy because of his skills."

The 20-year-old Svechnikov has enjoyed it so far.

"I think I've played good," he said. "First two games (against Chicago) I don't think I was at my best but after that, especially the last two games, I think myself and our line did our best so far."

Wallner continues...

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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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