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Prospect news: Skelleftea advances; Griffins lose to San Antonio; Walleye shut out

Of prospect-related note:

In playoff hockey, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin didn't play in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-0 loss to CSKA Moscow. SKA trails the KHL's Western Conference Final 1-0;

In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at -1 with a lost faceoff in 9:52 of ice time as TPS Turku lost 3-0 to Karpat Oulu, falling into a 2-1 deficit;

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took a shot, won 66% of his faceoffs and played 14:16 in Skelleftea AIK's 1-0 win over HV71. Skelleftea advances to the SHL semifinal via a 4-game sweep;

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Red Wings-Lightning quick take, take 4: flat and flattened

The Red Wings face nothing but must-win games over their final 10 regular-season tilts. Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning offered the opportunity for the Wings to do far more than keep pace with the Philadelphia Flyers, as a win could've pulled the Wings to within 2 points of the Lightning in the Atlantic Division race, but Detroit had a 5-game winless streak at Amalie Arena to overcome.

On Tuesday night, Detroit just plain old fell on their faces, losing 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and they were afforded a tie with the Flyers in the standings--though Philly has a game in hand, and is thus in the final Wild Card spot--via a 3-2 Columbus shootout win over the Flyers, who have 1 fewer ROW than the Wings.

Detroit was plain old poor against the Lightning, struggling to keep the puck out of Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek's nets almost equally, and there is no reason, absolutely no reason, for the Wings to continue to start so very flat and to finish scrambling to eke out a tie. This is far too late in the season for that to ever happen, never mind happen on back-to-back occasions.

Now the Wings have 9 opportunities to win the 6 or 7 games they need to win to make the playoffs, and they've got 2 or 3 losses left to burn after this debacle.

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Evening news: Game-day previews; Mantha in front and Bolts notes

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video, which includes appearances by Jonathan Ericsson, coach Jeff Blashill and captain Henrik Zetterberg:

2. The Grand Rapids Griffins are in San Antonio to battle the Rampage tonight, and they posted a game-day preview video as well:

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Red Wings-Lightning game-day articles: Wings need to solve Bishop to defeat the Bolts

Updated 9x at 3:14 PM: The Detroit Red Wings held an optional morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 PM on FSD/Sun/Sportsnet Ontario and Pacific/Yahoo Sports/97.1 FM).

The beat writers reported that Jimmy Howard would start opposite Ben Bishop, and that there would be "no changes" to the Wings' lineup, so Detroit's player personnel should look something like this, per MLive's Ansar Khan...

Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Larkin

Helm-Datsyuk-Mantha

Nyquist-Sheahan-Tatar

Athanasiou-Glendening-Richards

..

DeKeyser-Quincey

Kronwall-Ericsson

Smith-Green

And TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns reports that the Filppula and Callahan-less Lightning will dress the following lineup:

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St. James: Lightning aren’t taking Wings lightly

From the Free Press's Helene St. James, as the Wings' morning skate wraps up (no changes for Detroit, Callahan and Filppula out for Tampa, Bishop vs. Howard in the nets), the Lightning spoke very respectfully of the Red Wings' playoff streak and the team's attempts to extend said streak:

"I don't know if that makes them even more dangerous, that they are on the brink of another playoff spot right now, obviously with that consecutive streak," [steven] Stamkos said after the morning skate. "If you look at their group, they have a great mix of veteran guys and some great young talent that's come in this year and played extremely well. We've had tight games with them all year."

The Wings are 2-1 against the Lightning this season. They took Tampa Bay to a seven-game playoff series last spring, one that Stamkos called "arguably our closest and toughest series, with the exception of Chicago.

"They had a big comeback win in Florida. They are feeling good about their game. We have to be a team that comes out and matches their effort level."

The Flyers beat the New York Islanders on Monday, edging back within a point of the Wings for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers play again tonight, at Columbus, and still retain a game in hand on the Wings.

Tampa coach Jon Cooper said the Wings "are a veteran team, and they have made the playoffs 24 straight seasons for a reason. They are four lines deep. There is no room out there. They play well defensively. They are hard games to play."

St. James continues, and there is one worrisome stat about tonight's game:

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Red Wings-Lightning morning skate Tweets: Tampa w/o Callahan, Filppula; Wings ‘take an optional’

Updated 2x with "No changes" from Blashill @ 11:54 AM:

The Red Wings face a near must-win situation as they prepare to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sun/Sportsnet Ontario and West/Yahoo Stream/97.1 FM);

The Lightning hope to push the Wings 6 points behind them in the Atlantic Division standings while tying the Florida Pantheres for the division lead; the Red Wings want to stay ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Wild Card race, and the Wings will be watching the scoreboard as Philly tangles with Columbus tonight.

The Lightning preceded the Wings onto the ice at Amalie Arena, as noted by TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns...

Valtteri Filppula is on the ice for morning skate and wearing a grey jersey. #TBLightning

...

Don't see Ryan Callahan (lower-body injury) out there for morning skate. #TBLightning

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Ugly Goals Need To Continue

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"If you go back to (Luke) Glendening's goal in Columbus (Thursday), that was a net-presence goal, where it goes off him and in," Red Wings coach Blashill said. "You could say those are ugly goals; those are probably the kind of goals we haven't scored enough of, so against Ben Bishop and any other goalie in the league we're going to have to make sure we have great net presence and get pucks to the net."

In the Red Wings' 5-3 victory over Florida, Tomas Tatar, at the net front, deflected in a shot by Brad Richards and Glendening did likewise on a shot by Dylan Larkin, which resulted in the game-winning goal. Justin Abdelkader was also at the net, where he is often parked, on Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal with 10.1 seconds to play in the second period.

"It is important to be in front of the goalie," Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's nice to see that the puck goes in when you're standing there. We were doing a decent job on it before -- Glenny and Abby and (Anthony) Mantha. Some guys were spending a lot of time in front but they haven't gotten rewarded like they did (Saturday)."

Said Abdelkader: "A lot of times you're not going to score on the first shot, so you've got to have that net-front presence and make it hard on them to see the puck or to be able to play it."

more Wings talk...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning set-up, take 4: It’s a ‘must-win’ for both teams

The Red Wings really, really, really need to win Tuesday's against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sun/Sportsnet Ontario and West/97.1 FM).

With the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the New York Islanders on Monday, Philly sits a point behind the Wings with a game in hand--a game that will be played when the Flyers head to Columbus on Tuesday evening--and now the Islanders sit within reach at 2 points ahead of the Wings in the Wild Card Standings race.

The Lightning represent a "four-point" game for the Wings as Detroit could close to within 2 points of the Lightning in the Atlantic standings (see below) with a win.

If the Wings lose, however, Tampa will be pretty close to an un-catchable 6 points ahead of Detroit, though the Lightning would be far closer to their goal of closing in upon the Panthers for the Atlantic title:

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Red Wings return Coreau to Grand Rapids

Petr Mrazek's healthy enough to back up Jimmy Howard tomorrow, so the Red Wings have to send Jared Coreau back to Grand Rapids--or in this case, San Antonio, Texas, where the Griffins play the Rampage tomorrow. At least Jared got a Florida vacation for his trouble:

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Articles from practice: Howard to start Tuesday; Mrazek doing better after flu bug

Updated 3x at 4:53 PM: The Red Wings practiced in Tampa Bay on Monday, preparing for Tuesday's showdown with the Lightning, and there was good news: Petr Mrazek has recovered from his 103-degree fever, and while he's not going to start on Tuesday (Jimmy Howard will oppose Ben Bishop), Mrazek may be well enough to back Howard up as the Wings attempt to dent Bishop and the Lightning.

Otherwise, the beat writers reported no changes to the Wings' practice lineup, so MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Howard and coach Blashill regarding #35's next start:

"Jimmy's been huge for us here last two games, really come in and played with a lot of poise and making the big saves and playing the puck with confidence," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's nice for us to see that we have two good goalies that are ready to play when they get the call."

Howard is 3-2-1 in his past seven appearances, with a 2.15 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He experienced a rough stretch from early December to mid-February, when he went 0-5-4.

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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.

 

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