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The Malik Report

Detroit’s Problems In Their Defensive Zone

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

They couldn't get the puck out of their zone when the Capitals were applying heavy pressure. After a Danny DeKeyser turnover, John Carlson scored at 4:15 to give Washington the lead for good.

"It's a huge momentum swing the wrong way," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Obviously, we could have gained momentum with the third goal and put ourselves back in the mix. We got hemmed in our zone, had opportunities to get it out of our zone and just didn't.

"They're a really good team and they're really rolling right now. We're under pressure in those spots, so it's not easy plays, but we got to make sure we make hard plays and get it out."

Said Zetterberg: "I think they switched their whole unit and we were out there for a long time. But we had the puck on our sticks a few times and we try to make a hard play and the puck ends up staying in our end."...

"I think we took real steps forward, playing a smart game in Nashville, playing a smart game against Columbus, playing extraordinarily hard against Columbus," Blashill said. "Tonight, we had way too many turnovers when we didn't need to and we had way too many stick-checks. We didn't win enough one-on-one battles."


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The overnight report: Red Wings-Capitals wrap-up—Wings give Caps a workout, stress self-improvement

The Red Wings had a very difficult evening against the Washington Capitals, losing 6-3 in a game they'd tied 3-3 in the third period and losing Jonathan Ericsson's services for what's likely the balance of the season due to a broken wrist.

If there is good news on a night that the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga is officially informing the Caps' fan base to prepare its Stanley Cup parade route (Hey, why not? It's already February), the Capitals thmselves felt that the Red Wings tested the hell out of them, while the Red Wings didn't feel that the Capitals (who lost Andre Burakovsky to a hand injury as well) presented the same run for their money that Tuesday night's opponent--and Saturday night's opponent--the Columbus Blue Jackets gave them.

And the Wings held Alex Ovechkin shot-less for the first time in 315 tries.

Still, the Capitals won their 11th straight home game, and while they got a workout, they prevailed by what looks like a lop-sided score, as WashingtonCapitals.com's Mike Vogel noted:

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Ericsson out with a fractured wrist

So Jonathan Ericsson left the first period of the Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday, suffering from an "upper-body injury" after a hit in the numbers by Nicklas Backstrom:

If Ericsson does this to Backstrom, is it a 5-minute major? Or 5 and a game? Backstrom clearly didn't mean to do what he did--he apologized after the hit--but is there a double standard going on here?

Update: Here's Khan in text form...

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Red Wings-Capitals quick take: Wings out-cycled by Washington

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to snap the Washington Capitals' 10-game home winning streak on Thursday night, facing nothing less than a powerhouse of a team and a beast at home in the Caps.

The Red Wings were beaten up, eventually losing 6-3 on a night that Danny DeKeyser (4 goals against while he was on ice), Mike Green (3 goals against while he was on ice) and the Wings' defense--and goaltending--might want to forget.

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Howard suffers minor aggravation of scar tissue, out for the weekend

This is a bit of a relief. According to MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James, Jimmy Howard is relatively unscathed after having to leave last night's Grand Rapids Griffins-Manitoba Moose game with a "tweak" to his right knee:

Update: Here's Khan in article form:

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‘Two Things’: A Game-Day Preview video and Trotz on the Wings

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video...

2. And WashingtonCapitals.com's Mike Vogel noted this from coach Barry Trotz during the morning skate:

Tight Tilts – Six straight games between the Capitals and the Red Wings have resulted in the two teams combining for four or fewer goals. Washington has won five of those six, and each team has authored a 1-0 home ice win during that span.

“I don’t know,” says Trotz. “When you think of Detroit, you always think of high scoring and Washington, you think of as pretty high scoring. I don’t know. It’s probably a mutual respect that you’ve got to play real sound defensively against both teams.

“Detroit is still a pretty high scoring team. They’ve got some guys that can really wheel and some young guys that can fly. They’ve got [ex-Cap Mike Green] on the back end who can generate [offense] from the back end, so I don’t know why the scores are down so much. Probably good goaltending.

“I know the one night that [Ovechkin] had [15] shots, [Wings goalie Petr] Mrazek was pretty darned good and [Braden Holtby] has been really good for us. I think it’s probably the goaltending aspect, and probably both teams really pride themselves on playing a 200-foot game.”

Vogel continues, noting the Capitals' lineup...

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Andreas Athanasiou’s High Ceiling

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Wings have a dynamo in Athanasiou, a guy with explosive speed and the hands to finish. In 38 games, he has given them 11 goals among 16 points. Coach Jeff Blashill sees Athanasiou as being capable of much more, which is why he stresses good habits to the 22-year-old daily.

“I’ve said this lots,” Blashill said this morning at Verizon Center, as the Wings prepped for the evening game against the Washington Capitals (7, FSD). “When he is engaged -- and engaged, generally, for him, means skating and winning battles -- when he skates and wins battles and stops on pucks, he is an excellent hockey player.

“He’s got to make sure, on a consistent basis, he does that. That, to me, is the great separator of OK and good players to great players, that you do it on a consistent basis, night in and night out. And especially, the more attention you draw, the more you are able to do it, defines a great player in this league.”

read on

Update: St. James also posted a video of Athanasiou and Blashill speaking with the media...

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THN praises Anthony Mantha’s transformation into an NHL player

The Hockey News has taken note of Anthony Mantha's strong play with the Red Wings, and Jared Clinton penned a profile of big #39:

It’s become clear how impactful Mantha can be with his size, too. There’s no shortage of examples of how he can use his strength, either. Looking through his highlight reel, you’ll see him win puck battles, force his way into space and power his way to rebounds. It wasn’t just about tacking on pounds of muscle, however.

“Because of how good he was, he could play the game standing still and still have lots of success, not necessarily having to move his feet all the time before he came into pro hockey,” Blashill explained. “That’s because he had a skill package that’s a lot better than the people he was playing against.”

At every other level, his style of play worked wonders. He led the QMJHL in goals in 2012-13 as a sophomore player, then topped that feat with a monster 57-goal, 120-point season that led him to QMJHL MVP and CHL Player of the Year honors. In the AHL, he continued to be dominant, even as a young gun. He opened with a 15-goal, 33-point rookie season and scored 20 goals and 45 points in his second season. But for Mantha to become a consistent NHL scorer, he needed all aspects of his game working at once. That’s where Mantha’s dedication to using his skating ability in unison with his offensive gifts has really helped.

“When he skates, he’s an elite player,” Blashill said. “He’s a big body with really good hands and really good offensive sense. When he skates with the puck, he’s hard to handle, hard to handle on rushes, he’s hard to handle in the offensive zone. He’s got an excellent shot. So he really creates a lot of space for himself.”

Clinton continues...

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Griffins vs. Sled Wings on video

The Grand Rapids Griffins played the "Sled Wings" recently, and the Griffins posted a video of the event:

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Red Wings-Capitals game-day articles: Mrazek starts, Sproul in for Ouellet

Updated 4x at 2:48 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals held optional morning skates ahead of tonight's game (7 PM EST on FSD/CSN Mid-Atlantic/97.1 FM), but CSN Mid-Atlantic's J.J. Regan believes that the Capitals will ice the following lineup...

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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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