The Malik Report
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Go ahead and blame the power play for the big hole the Detroit Red Wings find themselves in during the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Nobody will argue.
The power play has been brutal with one goal in 21 chances after getting blanked in four opportunities Tuesday in a Game 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But as much as anything, undisciplined play and poor penalty killing hurt the Red Wings in a 3-2 loss at Joe Louis Arena that left them on the brink of elimination.
Tampa Bay scored all three of its goals on the power play, getting the game winner with less than three minutes remaining after the Red Wings battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie in the final seconds of the middle period.
The Red Wings could not complete a rousing comeback over the Tampa Bay Lightning due to a terrible power play and a less than spectacular penalty kill in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Bolts, and now the Wings find themselves facing a 3 games to 1 deficit going into Thursday's game in Tampa Bay.
Detroit has to find a way to bring the series back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 6, because this may have been the last time that Pavel Datsyuk left the ice at the Joe:
For the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuesday's win was, to some extent, a case of "team see, team do," as USA Today's Kevin Allen noted:
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the ECHL, despite 33 saves from Jeff Lerg, the Toledo Walleye dropped a 4-2 decision to the Reading Royals on Tuesday night, and the Walleye trail the best-of-seven series 2 games to 1. The Walleye's website posted a recap...
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned quite the damning critique of the Red Wings organization as one that is leaning too hard on its former superstars:
These aren’t your father’s Red Wings. They may still run, but they no longer gun. Detroit scored 209 regular-season goals, lowest total among the 16 playoff qualifiers. The Wings finished 25th overall in the NHL in five-on-five goals.
Now, all of this is not meant as a bash Datsyuk and Zetterberg segment. It’s more of a reality check. Check in on some other players from the era of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown is now a bottom-six forward. Long a San Jose Sharks star, Patrick Marleau today skates in their bottom-six group.
In Detroit, Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still expected to carry the mail.
When the ravages of health and time took their toll on Steve Yzerman, he was able to slide into a lesser role and still be an effective Red Wing because the young Datsyuk and Zetterberg were there to pick up the torch from him. No one has stepped forward to do likewise for Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar took a step backwards offensively this season and neither has shown to be a playoff performer. Nyquist’s Game 4 goal was his second tally in 21 playoff games.
No, it’s still Datsyuk and Zetterberg’s team and that’s why the Wings remain a team on a treadmill, seeking to find a future within their glorious past, about to exit the playoffs in the first round for the third year in a row.
I couldn't have said it any better than Fox Sports Detroit did:
The Detroit Red Wings faced a fantastic opportunity to tie their first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday evening, but the Red Wings had to find a way to jump-start their offense in order to do more than try to shut out the "Triplets 2K" line. If the Red Wings lost, however, they'd be facing a 3 games-to-1 deficit heading back to Tampa Bay for Game 5, and that's a difficult proposition.
On Tuesday night, Detroit had no answers for the Lightning power play, which registered 3 goals, and Tampa Bay's best was better than what Detroit could offer. Tampa Bay won 3-2, on a power play goal with 2:59 left in regulation, negating a rally from a 2-0 deficit.
Detroit will go to Tampa Bay down 3-1 and will need to do its damnedest to get back to the Joe on Saturday by winning Thursday's game.
Alexey Marchenko didn't take the warm-up before tonight's game against Tampa Bay, and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Marchenko is unwell:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video:
3. From Jon Cooper's 5 PM media availability:
There is a massive elephant in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room.
“No,” rookie forward Dylan Larkin says, “we’re not talking about it.”
“I don’t think anybody’s talking about it,” adds defenceman, Danny DeKeyser. “I don’t think he wants anyone to talk about it—he wants us to stay focused on the playoffs.”
He is Pavel Datsyuk. And the elephant in the room, of course, is that this is likely his final season in the NHL.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, there’s a chance Red Wings fans may be seeing the last of The Magic Man on home ice, too.
From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
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.