The Malik Report
Detroit sits a point above the Bruins in the Atlantic Division and only 3 behind the Florida Panthers with tomorrow's road matinee (it's President's Day) against the Islanders to go (1 PM EST start on FSD/MSG Plus/NHL Network/97.1 FM), wrapping up their 3-games-in-4-nights stretch....
And the Wings went 4-0-and-1 on their 5-game home stand, earning 9 of a possible 10 points over the past 9 afternoons and evenings. Detroit's digging its heels into an Atlantic Division playoff spot, and there was good news after the game regarding Pavel "901 points" Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist:
AWood40 posted a clip of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm's goals, including the 1st Datsyuk goal, which was his 900th NHL point:
Datsyuk addressed his milestone while speaking with the Free Press's George Sipple...
The Red Wings were up a creek against the Boston Bruins, having lost 6 straight and 11 of 12 games total against a Bruins team that hadn't loss to the Wings since Game 2 of the 2014 playoffs, and Detroit faced a Tuuka Rask-and-company Bruins roster that boasted a 6-game road winning streak coming into today's game.
In theory, this game looked like another predictable Boston win, even without Patrice Bergeron; in practice...
Hell, I'm writing this just after the Wings won 6-5, and I don't have an answer for you as to what I just witnessed. The Red Wings received sub-standard goaltending from Petr Mrazek, they received amazing performances from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk (2 goals and an assist apiece), Darren Helm (2 goals), Alexey Marchenko, Danny DeKeyser and Brad Richards (2 assists), somehow, Dylan Larkin finished at -2, Gustav Nyquist eked his way through the game after getting kneed by Matt Beleskey, and Datsyuk scooted at the end of the game, sending shudders through the fan base...
As the Wings surrendered and then rallied from multiple-goal deficits, blew a 5-4 lead and managed to rally to chase Tuukka Rask and hold onto a 6-5 lead for 13 long third period minutes.
This was ugly, baffling, frustrating, confusing and difficult to endure, but it was a huge win against the Bruins, too, and that's what matters.
Updated 6x at 2:53 PM: Per the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...
blashill: ericsson tried to go this morning. could not. day to day.
The Red Wings...
MLive's Ansar Khan...
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. Here's the Red Wings' Game Day Preview video:
2. CBS Sports' Chris Peters is picking the Wings to win today:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The ideal fourth line is hard to play against, responsible defensively and chips in the occasional goal.
The Detroit Red Wings haven't gotten that from their fourth line this season, but coach Jeff Blashill hopes the recently formed trio of Darren Helm, Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan can be a much-needed energy line.
"We put it together with the idea that we wanted an identity on that line," Blashill said. "They all play a similar-type game, they're all real good defensively, they can be physical, they have offense in them. They're a good, grinding-type line."
Blashill said the inspiration for that line came from watching the Tampa Bay Lightning's Valtteri Filppula, J.T. Brown and Ryan Callahan play well against the Red Wings on Feb. 3.
The Red Wings face the Boston Bruins today (
3:00 3:30 PM EST on NBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) both facing up at the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings--where the 30-19-and-6 Bruins sit one point ahead of the 28-18-and-9 Wings' 65 points--and facing an uphill climb as the Wings haven't beaten the Bruins in six games.
When did the Wings last defeat the Bruins? Game 2 of the 2014 playoffs. Before and after that game, Boston's won 10 of 11 meetings between the two teams.
The Bruins are coming in with an impressive 6-game road winning streak as well, having most recently defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Saturday, and the ever-charming Brad Marchand has goals in 12 of his past 12 games.
In front of Jonas Gustavsson, and minus Patrice "body injury" Bergeron, the Bruins delivered Claude Julien's 500th coaching win on Saturday; the B's credited their absent captain for bearing down on the Wild, as BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj noted:
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, Colin Campbell had 2 assists, 4 different Grand Rapids Griffins players scored, Jared Coreau stopped 28 of 31 shots, and the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Iowa Wild 4-3. The Griffins' website posted a recap:
The Free Press's Sunday sports section focuses upon birthday boy Petr Mrazek, whose performance has been nothing less than spectacular this year...
This season, Mrazek has cemented his stellar reputation by playing so well he should be in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best goaltender. He has allowed 16 goals in his past 13 starts, and his .933 save percentage and 1.94 goals-against average ranked first among NHL goaltenders as of Saturday. All of this, and today is Mrazek’s 24th birthday.
“He has special qualities and ones that are real hard to judge,” said Jeff Blashill, who has coached Mrazek in the minors and with the Wings. “You can’t judge them going onto the draft floor. You can’t judge them until you really experience someone on a day-to-day basis.
“He’s got a great confidence to him. He believes in himself. It’s not a bravado, fake confidence. It’s a true confidence. He’s one of the rare people I know that in big situations doesn’t get nervous. I’d be interested in testing his heart rate, because he doesn’t ever appear to get nervous.”
Mrazek should trademark the phrases “stay positive” and “look forward,” because he delivers one or both after many of his games. Shut out the Florida Panthers as they sit atop the Atlantic Division? Look forward to next game. Get pulled in the playoffs? Stay positive. There’s virtually no difference in his demeanor whether he has let in one goal or three.
“The main thing that stands out about him is his level of compete and his ability to put things behind him,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “With the amount of goalies I’ve been with, I know a lot of them, they let one in, and it’s like a snowball effect. He’s not like that. He’s not cocky, but confident, and I think that’s what makes him who he is. He’s been amazing.”
Elliotte Friedman reported on Sportsnet a few minutea ago that the Wings/Leafs will be playing a Winter Classic game in Toronto, January 1st, 2017.
Chicago/St. Louis will play on January 2nd.
You can watch Saturday Headlines at the KK Hockey section.
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.