The Malik Report
from Bill Roose of the Wings' website,
With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, tonight’s game – in a building that hasn’t been very kind in recent years to the Wings – is extremely important if they are to reach the postseason for a 25th consecutive season.
“They’ve been crucial now for a while,” Howard said of the games. “We’ve been down a little bit with our starts as of late but we have to find a way to start on time. That’s starting here tonight (and) from here on out.”
Scoring has been an issue all season for the Wings, however, they have gone the past five games, and 11 of the last 14, without scoring in the first period.
“All you can do is go out and play great hockey,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s all you can do. Do we want to get the first goal? Absolutely. Would we like to get the second goal? Absolutely. But what you need to do is from the drop of the puck for 60 straight minutes is play great hockey.”
The Wings are 14-16-9 when scoring in the first period this season. But they’re 19-9-3 when they have scored in the opening period.
“It’s tough. It’s a tough league to come back against teams,” Justin Abdelkader said. “I think you see team’s records when they’re leading after the first, even the second period, it’s really good. So you try to get the lead, or at least try to play a strong game and a strong start to the game.
“Scoring is big but not allowing teams to get up a couple of goals on you is also big.”
more on the Wings...
Via WXYZ's Brad Galli, WXYZ posted some raw footage of the Red Wings' follow-on rink construction crew installing the first roof truss today:
The Red Wings will be starting Jimmy Howard in goal tonight as Petr Mrazek is sick, and the Blue Jackets' lineup is in flux as well ahead of tonight's game (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM).
NHL.com took note of the Wings' emergency recall of Jared Coreau...
Updated 7x at 1:52 PM: The Red Wings face a must-win situation as they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM), and for whatever reason, John Tortorella holds his game-day presser during the morning skate.
ColumbusBlueJackets.com's Rob Mixer reports that Oliver Bjorkstrand, Michael Chaput and John Ramage will be in the lineup...
From the Red Wings:
DETROIT RECALLS JARED COREAU
… Third-Year Pro Ranks Top-Three in AHL in Wins, Goals-Against Average, Save Percentage and Shutouts …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled goaltender Jared Coreau from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Coreau, 24, has won each of his last six starts, helping the Griffins to a 12-game winning streak overall, the second-best run in franchise history. Since his streak start on Feb. 23, Coreau has a 0.99 goals-against average, 0.967 save percentage, three shutouts and established a new Grand Rapids franchise record for saves in a shutout performance after stopping all 45 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over the Chicago Wolves on March 13. The third-year pro ranks as one of the AHL’s top goalies this season, currently sitting second with 29 wins, third with a 2.15 goals-against average and tied for second with a 0.931 save percentage and six shutouts. Coreau was also the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December after posting a 9-2-0 record, 1.92 goals-against average and 0.938 save percentage, part of his season-best 11-game winning streak that ran from Nov. 18 to Dec. 26. In 72 games with the Griffins since 2013-14, the Perth, Ontario native owns a 45-22-3 record, 2.28 goals-against average, 0.927 save percentage and nine shutouts.
A pair of radio-and-newspaper personalities weigh in on the Red Wings this morning, with the Oakland Press's/97.1 the Ticket's Pat Caputo pondering the fates of the Pistons and Wings...
In the bigger picture, three years down the road, what will these two franchises be?
The Red Wings will be in a sparkling new arena, but with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall aging, what will the product on the ice be like? There is potential star talent there – Dylan Larkin and Petr Mrazek are certainly promising. But what about filling out the rest of the roster?
Will Drummond even be with the Pistons? Will the decision to place so much into the hands of Jackson be considered a mistake or a brilliant move by Van Gundy?
Both franchises, with such proud not-so-distant pasts, are clearly on the bubble.
And that goes not only for this year, but the foreseeable future, as well.
Caputo continues, and the Free Press/97.1 the Ticket's Jamie Samuelssen suggests that the Red Wings need to stop worrying about sustaining their playoff streak and start enjoying playing hockey again:
MLive's Brendan Savage conducted a Q and A with Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Kal, discussing Kal's aspirations, career achievements and outlook:
MLive: You're a Michigan guy. Was this your dream job?
Kal: Of course. I was at Michigan when the Sharks job came up when they were first in the league. I sent a tape and resume and never heard back. Not even a note saying 'Thanks a lot.' I figured when I tried to apply (in Detroit) there were so many other people that were probably more qualified than me and I didn't think I had a chance but I did it just to throw my hat in the ring and luckily enough, I think what really helped me out is at that time The Joe was really into college hockey and I had a college background. We had CCHA championships so I think maybe that helped me out because they were looking for somebody who knew the CCHA. That's what I'm thinking. Nobody ever told me that.
Updated 2x at 1:45 AM with a note from Joe Hicketts and a profile of Chase Perry:
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored the 5-1 goal and had an assist in Skelleftea AIK's playoff-opening 6-1 win over HV71. Holmstrom played 10:29, winning 71% of his faceoffs, and he finished at +2 (click on the link for highlights);
And Christoffer Ehn didn't register a point in the Frolunda Indians' playoff-opening 4-2 win over Djurgardens IF, playing 10:01, winning 77% of his faceoffs and taking two shots.
In regular season action, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins won their 12th straight game on the strength of a goal and an assist from Ryan Sproul, Zach Nastasiuk's first AHL goal and mostly Tom McCollum's 40-save performance en route to a 4-1 win over Texas. The Griffins' website posted a recap:
The Red Wings will sit outside the playoff picture when they battle the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM) as the Flyers defeated Chicago on Wednesday night. If that isn't enough motivation to take their frustration out on the Jackets, last week's wretched 5-3 loss in Columbus should serve as enough motivation to ensure that the Wings come out flying tonight.
The Red Wings are in the middle of a 4-game road trip, and have lost 2 straight games, too;
Columbus will be playing the 4th game of a 5-game home stand, and they've lost two games as well, with their most recent defeat coming in the form of a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, so the Blue Jackets have been stewing for the past four days.
For Columbus, the Wings are a welcome sight: the Blue Jackets have a 10-2-and-2 record over their past 14 games against Detroit, and they've won both of this season's meetings against the Wings.
Among MLive's Peter J. Wallner's "10 reasons why the Grand Rapids Griffins have the best goaltending in the AHL":
In the current 11-game win streak, the Griffins have allowed 11 goals, including one three-goal game. The rest have been two goals or less.
During the streak, Coreau has six wins, three shutouts and a 0.99 GAA (.967 save percentage). McCollum has won five, with a shutout and a 1.00 GAA (.967 save percentage).
Let's talk about Coreau's numbers. Here is how he stands among the league best: Save total of 1,208 (1st); save percentage of .931 (T2nd and .001 off the lead); win total of 29 wins (2nd); six shutouts (T2nd), and goals against average of 2.15 GAA (3rd).
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.