The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
When will fourth line chip in?
The Red Wings can usually count on some offense from their fourth line, but the unit hasn't accounted for a goal in 17 games, regardless of who's played there.
Luke Glendening, who notched 12 goals last season, and Drew Miller are fixtures on the line but have just one assist each. Darren Helm, who's off to the worst start of his career (one assist in 13 games) has logged time on the line in recent games. Joakim Andersson (11 games) and the injured Landon Ferraro (10 games), who've played mostly on the fourth line, have no points.
When a team is struggling to score like the Red Wings, offense from unexpected sources can provide a lift. But they haven't gotten it.
four more items...
The 8-8-and-1 Detroit Red Wings are in for a tough battle in Ottawa on Monday evening (7:30 PM on FSD/TSN 5/RDS/97.1 FM).
The 8-5-and-4 Senators sit 3 points ahead of Detroit in the Eastern Conference standings and are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. While the Senators' record is slightly better than Detroit's--and Ottawa split a back-to-back slate against the Wings in October, winning 3-1 on October 30th and losing 5-3 to Detroit on Halloween--they have the luxury of not worrying about their place in the standings, nor being satisfied with what's essentially the same 1-game-below-.500 record that Detroit possesses, as they told the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan:
Of prospect-related note:
The Toledo Walleye dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday.
Marek Tvrdon registered 2 assists for Toledo, which rallied from a 3-2 deficit to earn a point, but goaltender Jeff Lerg came up on the wrong end of a 10-round shootout. The Walleye's website posited a recap:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Many factors are contributing to their offensive issues, but coach Jeff Blashill said it starts with getting the puck on the net.
"Probably the No. 1 thing is hitting the net. We got to hit the net way more," Blashill said Sunday, after practice at Canadian Tire Centre. "We had lots of opportunities. We had 18 misses last night (in a 3-1 loss at Boston). If I went back to the previous games, those were in the high teens as well. You can't miss the net that much and expect to produce the offense you want to produce."
The Red Wings rank 19th in the league in missed shots (187). Tampa Bay is first with 256.
"We've had tons of chances to put the puck on net where we missed the net instead," forward Gustav Nyquist said. "We don't generate enough second and third chances because of that, because there's no rebound because it's off the glass or off the boards. We just got to keep grinding here and hopefully we'll get a game where some shots will go in and we can start feeling better about our offense."
The Red Wings ranked first in the NHL in shots per game in 2008-09 (36.2). Since then they've ranked second, second, fifth, tenth, 15th and 18th last season at 29.6 shots per game.
via Bill Roose tweets,
The #RedWings are practicing under the direction of the assistant coaches this afternoon in Ottawa.
Kronwall, Smith, Zetterberg, Green not on the ice. Pulkkinen (sore), Ferraro (knee) and Richards (back) are practicing with the #RedWings.
Landon Ferraro (knee) skated with the #RedWings for first time. Says he's ahead of schedule, hopes to be well enough to return next week.
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Pulkkinen said he had a sore neck. Skated today and said he feels ready. Blashill will wait until tomorrow to decide lineup up front.
Blashill said he'll reveal his starting goalie for tomorrow's game in Ottawa in the morning.
Blashill said Smith has even sick all week and got worse last night. Didn't skate today and won't play tomorrow so no changes on defense.
Zetterberg. Kronwall and Green didn't practice today but Blashill said everyone who played last night is available tomorrow.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They need to get on the inside more often and make life more difficult for opposing goaltenders.
"You got to try to get in front of the goalie, get a stick on a puck, get those second and third chances," Justin Abdelkader said. "They're not just going to let you go in front of the net. They're going to be boxing you out. It's those one-on-one battles that you got to dig down and win."...
Henrik Zetterberg said they need to play with a little more grit.
"You've just got to bear down even more," Zetterberg said. "Get on the inside, get pucks to the net. Do a lot of the little things right."
Said Riley Sheahan: "You've got to be willing to get cross-checked and battle in front of the net.
"I think just from the get-go we've got to get the puck deep rather than try to make cute plays through the neutral zone. We've just got to get puck in deep, cycle around, throw some pucks at the net and then make plays from there."
The Red Wings' 3-1 loss against the Boston Bruins may have been what Jeff Blashill simply described to John Keating--a case of "not being good enough"--and that seems to be the case more and more regularly as the 8-8-and-1 Wings proceed deeper into the regular season.
The Wings have become something of a mess on ice, unable to out-score their opponents even when they achieve all the possession metrics (Detroit was out-shot 31-23 but out-attempted Boston 57-49 and won the faceoff battle 28-27--but had 19 giveaways) and get all the "O-zone" time in the world, the Wings still can't dent opposing goaltenders.
On Saturday, the Wings may have out-attempted and out-chanced the Bruins, but the Wings were unable to do the old giggle-inducing line of penetrating the slot with any regularity, nor did the Wings attack the net with the same fervor that they attacked the boards they were checked into or drop-passed the puck onto a blueline they were allowed to skate back and forth upon...
The Red Wings needed to play with desperation against a Boston Bruins team determined to turn around a 1-5-and-1 home record on Saturday evening, and the Red Wings did indeed play desperate, they played with poise, and they played with determination.
None of those levels matched the Bruins' desperation, poise or determination, however, and Boston checked the snot out of the Wings while mucking, grinding and trapping their way to a 3-1 victory that simply should not have stood because the Bruins' third goal was scored on a clear, blatant penalty...
But should'ves and could'ves and sometimes, "The rules" don't really matter, and the Wings didn't use it as a rallying point, so Detroit dropped to 8-8-and-1 while displaying yet another disturbingly perimeter-laden performance.
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.