The Malik Report
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
This defeat wasn’t as ugly as Saturday’s for the Red Wings, but in a way, it might hurt more.
The Red Wings fell behind, rallied on the strength of three second-period, power-play goals, then lost the lead and game in the third period as Montreal defeat the Red Wings, 4-3.
This was a golden opportunity for the Red Wings to move into the playoff picture. Boston lost 2-1 in New Jersey, giving the Red Wings an opportunity to vault past them into third place in the Atlantic Division.
Instead, the Bruins remain a point ahead of the Red Wings (88-87) with both teams having five games remaining.
Sportsnet's Eric Engels conducted a Q and A with Ken Holland, and this sure doesn't sound like a GM who's going to go make massive changes simply because his team might not make the playoffs:
SN: On a personal level, are you driven to avoid the narrative — fair or unfair — that if your team misses the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, it’ll be because Babcock is no longer coach?
KH: I’ve been in the business so long. I’m aware what’s out there from a media standpoint. I’m a little older and I’m aware about what’s on Twitter and Instagram and all these things.I guess my message would be — I don’t know that you can pause to think about those things. Unless somebody’s asking me, I don’t go around on an everyday basis thinking, ‘what if we miss the playoffs?’
Bottom line, I certainly want to make the playoffs for a 25th straight year. It’s great for our franchise, it’s a tremendous accomplishment, but I don’t really look at all 25 years together. I don’t think making the playoffs in 1997-98 has anything to do with this year. I think you look at it each individual year and then the years start to add up.
Certainly if we miss the playoffs, we’re all going to be incredibly disappointed because, when the year started, that was one of our team’s goals. I think any time you don’t reach your goals you’re disappointed.
The Red Wings plain old desperately needed to defeat the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. With the Wings' margin for error at perhaps 1 to 2 losses, and games against playoff-desperate Minnesota and the equally spoiler-happy Leafs in hte offing, blowing Tuesday's game would make Detroit's road to the playoffs all that much more difficult.
Blowing Tuesday's game--in no small part thanks to Petr Mrazek's struggles in the net, and in no small part thanks to a 3rd period's worth of exhaustion--yields an incredibly difficult climb as the Wings play 5 more hard games against Minnesota, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston and New York, with 4 of 5 in back-to-back situations.
The Wings rallied and took a 3-2 lead because their power play was damn good and because Pavel Datsyuk (2 assists), Mike Green (1 goal), Zetterberg, Marchenko, Kronwall (for once), Mantha, Nyquist (for once), Sheahan and a cast of characters great and small tried to will and work their way to a hard-fought win, but when you start the game down 2-0, and you're playing 4-in-6...
Your margin for error is razor-thin, and Detroit could not out-score its mistakes. They did an admirable job, but they didn't get at least a necessary point out of an essential game.
Alexei Emelin hit Dylan Larkin and took a 5-minute major for what was clearly an attempt-to-injure hit:
Bad news from the Portland Winterhawks:
The Portland Winterhawks have announced that captain Dominic Turgeon underwent surgery on his right shoulder today in Detroit, and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.
Turgeon had been experiencing discomfort in his shoulder earlier this month, and an examination led to a recommendation by the Detroit Red Wings of surgery. Both the medical staffs for the Winterhawks and Red Wings cleared him to continue playing, but the Red Wings advised he undergo the surgery now in order to be healthy in time for the start of their 2016-17 training camp.
“We’re disappointed to lose Dominic at this crucial point of the season. He’s been a great player during his time with the Winterhawks, and done an exemplary job as captain this season,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Jamie Kompon. “However, we now have to focus on the task at hand as we continue our first round playoff series with the Everett Silvertips.”
Turgeon led the Hawks with 70 points (36 goals, 34 assists) in 72 games this season, and was named co-MVP of the team, along with goaltender Adin Hill. He was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft, 63rd overall, by the Red Wings.
The CBC Montreal's Andie Bennett believes that the Montreal Canadiens are playing their "last meaningful game" of the 2015-16 campaign, and according to Bennett, the game comes with a spoiler's tag attached:
With six games left in the regular season, the Habs only card left to play is that of the spoilers.
The role begins tonight with a rematch against a Red Wings team they almost came back on last Thursday when they scored three goals in the third period yet had to settle for a 4-3 loss.
The Wings are battling with the Flyers for the final wildcard spot in the east and the Canadiens can make that challenge more difficult by handing them a loss on home ice tonight.
Detroit is on the tail end of a back-to-back where they had to fight to hang onto the two points in Buffalo. The team is near the bottom of the standings in offensive output.
In short, now is the time. The remaining games are against Florida teams securely in playoff position and a Hurricanes team that likely can't close the gap.
Tonight is the last "meaningful" game on the Habs schedule. Hello sweetie.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland and assistant coach Chris Chelios appeared on Montreal's TSN 690 this morning and early afternoon, with Ken Holland speaking for 18 minutes on The Montreal Forum with Tony Marinaro and Chelios speaking with his old teammate Chris Nilan.
Holland reiterates a lot of this year's discussion as to whether Jeff Blashill's done a solid job succeeding Mike Babcock, and Chelios describes both the playoff push and the nature of his job.
Here are the interviews:
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday signed forward Kyle Criscuolo (krihs-COO-loh) to an amateur tryout for the remainder of the 2015-16 season and to a standard player’s contract for 2016-17.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette at Hockey Inside/Out,
The matchup: While the Canadiens have been eliminated from playoff contention, they could still have an effect on the Eastern Conference standings. The Red Wings need a win to keep alive their hopes of continuing a playoff streak that dates to 1990. Detroit is tied in points (87) with eighth-place Philadelphia, but the Flyers have a game in hand. The Red Wings are also one point behind the Boston Bruins in the fight for third place in the Atlantic Division. This is the fourth and final meeting between these teams this season. The Canadiens won at home 4-1 on Oct. 17, while the Red Wings won twice in Detroit, 3-2 on Dec. 10 and 4-3 last Thursday. Masterton Trophy nominee Mike Condon will start in nets for the Canadiens, while Jacob De La Rose takes Stefan Matteau’s spot in the lineup.
Special-teams failure: It would be easy to attribute the Canadiens’ recent failure on the power play — 1-for-21 in the past eight games — to the absence of P.K. Subban during that stretch. But the power play has been dreadful for the past two years and ranks 27th in the NHL with a success rate of 16.2 per cent. Subban is probably missed more on the penalty-kill, which has allowed seven goals in the last 24 opportunities and has dropped to eighth overall.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
If Blashill announces any changes to the lineup tonight, I will add it to this post.
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.