The Malik Report
Updated 3x at 1:52 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just before 1 PM, attempting to regroup after last night's 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they didn't have to share the ice with the Bolts on Saturday, as the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson noted:
This cheery little stat popped up...
And TSN's Jamie McLennan weighed in on Jimmy Howard's play:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Petr Mrazek, in all likelihood, will start Game 3. Jimmy Howard, playing behind a shaky defense, has a 3.59 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in two games.
Mrazek, who lost the starting job late in the season due to bad outings, hasn't started since March 26, when he was pulled after allowing four goals in a span of 14:51 during the second period of a 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the fourth time in a span of 13 starts that he has been replaced.
But the Red Wings need a spark of some sort. Mrazek nearly lifted them to a first-round upset of the Lightning last year, when he posted a pair of shutouts in the seven-game series loss.
Chances are defenseman Brendan Smith, a healthy scratch the past nine games, will play as well. He might replace Alexey Marchenko. The same thing happened last year, when Smith sat the first two games and then replaced Marchenko.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"They're getting too many easy goals," Detroit's Niklas Kronwall said. "They're a good team, no doubt, but we have to be better."
The Red Wings haven't been able to build off the momentum from scoring. After Dylan Larkin tied it at 1-1 with his first career playoff goal at 3:30 of the second period, Bryan Boyle scored off a rush at 6:46.
"We need concentrate or maybe a little more emotion when we score and want to just keep going and score (again)," Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk said. "Maybe this costs us a little bit."
The Red Wings failed to convert on three power-play opportunities in the final eight minutes of the second period. They didn't have Datsyuk, who was in the room for dental work, after losing a tooth on hit from Victor Hedman.
"Our focus more play better, more details and just keep pushing every shift," Datsyuk said. "We needed more shots and more screen, like to really score more and more on the power play."
Said Zetterberg: "We were in the box too much again. and even though we got one on the PP, we need to be better there. Otherwise, it's a tight game again."
How much more of a difference can the power play make if you can get it going in this series?
"I let you know when we start," Datsyuk said.
From NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika's analysis of the Red Wings-Bolts series:
The Red Wings have made too many mistakes. It is one thing for Larkin, 19, making his NHL playoff debut, to step up when he should have stayed back on a play in Game 1, watching the Lightning chip the puck off the boards past him and score on a 3-on-2. But turnovers by veterans Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson led to the winning goals in the first two games, and those are just the biggest examples.
"They're getting too many easy goals," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "They're a good team. No doubt. But we have to be better."
The Red Wings haven't capitalized on enough of their opportunities either. Zetterberg has no goals in 13 games, one in 26. Pavel Datsyuk has no goals in 12 games. Gustav Nyquist has one in 19. Tomas Tatar has one in 12.
Blashill reunited Datsyuk and Zetterberg on a line in Game 1, looking for a spark. He tinkered with his lines in Game 2, trying different right wings with his two veteran leaders. Blashill is already getting second-guessed for not playing speedy rookie Andreas Athanasiou more and for sending Anthony Mantha back to the minors, even though each is inexperienced and might have made even more mistakes.
If the Red Wings lose this series, the second-guessing is going to get worse. The Lightning have an excuse playing without Stamkos and Stralman. The Red Wings have no excuse and a city used to success.
It's about the result. More than anything else, the result.
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye opened their playoff campaign with a 4-3 loss to the Reading Royals. The Walleye overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to tie the game at 3, but the Walleye surrendered the game-winning goal with 5:05 left in regulation.
The Walleye's website posted a recap:
The Detroit Red Wings got beaten pretty badly over the course of a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they went down fighting...
And that's not necessarily a good thing. The Lighting's re-formed Triplets line is running ramp-shod over the Red Wings, scoring goals regardless of whether the Wings are trying to defend against them; in between the goals, the Red Wings' emotion and intensity are prone to short-attention-span-theatre lapses, and when the Red Wings do score on Ben Bishop, they've had to work many times harder than Tampa Bay does to score their own goals.
The Wings' special teams aren't great, either, their work ethic could improve, their intensity, effort, attention to detail, it's all just "off," and if the Wings don't find the team that made the Philalphia Flyers look silly some 10 days ago, Detroit is in even more trouble than it finds itself coming home down 0-and-2 to what looks like a powerhouse Lightning team.
Hell, the Lightning readily admitted that their penalty-kill was what sapped Detroit's momentum away from them, as they told the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman...
This was utterly stupid. Tampa TV feed:
The Red Wings entered Friday's game needing to come home with a split. Tampa Bay didn't dominate the Red Wings during Game 1, but they came out on top possessing a little bit of swagger, and Detroit needed to reclaim a little of their own mojo while facing stiff and physical opposition.
The Red Wings fell in the face of the Lightning's stiff physical and territorial opposition, making grevious defensive errors and losing 5-2. Detroit will return to the Joe down 2 games and in desperate need of a better mental game as the Lightning are simply playing smarter, more efficient and sometimes necessarily vicious hockey.
While the Lightning's decision to pick a massive dust-up with the Wings while up 5-2 was ridiculous, some of Detroit's physical plays were ill-advised to say the least, and it appears that the game between the ears is escaping a Wings team that's simply getting out-Johnsoned.
Thanks, Victor Hedman:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The numbers are facing outward on the Red Wings' game jerseys, indicating that the Wings lost Game 1:
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