The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"It seems like it's happening a little bit too often," forward Brad Richards said. "We've got to learn as a team to go into the third period, late in the third period, with the lead, we've got to close it out and lock it down. I'm sure we're going to talk about that and go over that more this week with some time off here."
Ryan O'Reilly and Johan Larsson scored 1:01 apart with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
It's almost becoming predictable. The Red Wings have frittered away third-period leads in nine of their past 14 games.
Coach Jeff Blashill cited a combination of things leading to third-period issues.
"Part of that is confidence," Blashill said. "We got to have more poise and confidence in those situations. There's a difference between confident and too relaxed. You have to be confident but urgent and we have to be better in those situations.
"We have to grow as a team. Which way are we going to go? Are we going to grow or are we going to feel sorry for ourselves?"
In the end, it came down to a desperation save by Chad Johnson and a puck that Gustav Nyquist couldn't lift. Johnson stopped Nyquist, and the Buffalo Sabres emerged with a 2-1 victory over a Red Wings team that led for 21 minutes and had nursed either a lead or a scoreless tie for 54:46.
The game wasn't nearly that simple, though the "simpler" team prevailed.
The Red Wings were attempting to establish a 14-game unbeaten streak, but a Red Wings team that had surrendered a 3rd period lead in 10 of those 13 "unbeatens" finally met a deficit they couldn't rally from. The Sabres were simply trying to establish a 2-game winning streak, and, according to the Sabres, the game hinged upon battling through frustration.
When you're riding a 13-game points streak (8-0-and-5), every game is a "trap game," and Monday's tilt vs. the Buffalo Sabres was no exception. The coming-around Sabres had snapped the Los Angeles Kings' 6-game winning streak on Saturday, and Buffalo filled the spoiler's role perfectly as the Wings opened a 3-game home stand.
I had a feeling that the Red Wings were going to blow this one, and I'd already titled it and prepared for what I felt was kind of inevitable. The Wings were either pushing too hard for offense or leaning too hard on defense in this game, and they were either way "above the puck" or far too "under" it when in transition--kind of spun out, the way Tomas Tatar looks when he dekes himself out of a scoring opportunity--so I wasn't surprised that the Wings blew their 1-goal lead thanks to 2 Sabres goals in 1:01 and lost 2-1 to the Sabres on Monday night.
I'm disappointed, damn disappointed, but the Wings' unbeaten streak was running on bad habits for a couple of games now, and with Chad Johnson playing the game-stealer's role for Buffalo, Detroit just wasn't going to take this one playing the way they've been playing of late (though Tomas Jurco not converting on a penalty shot would have changed things).
Ken Kal spoke with Riey Sheahan and Jeff Blashill.
Below, Brian Duff previews the game from the Buffalo side.
Updated 6x at 2:29 PM: The Detroit Red Wings take on the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/MSG B/Bell/97.1 FM), and the Wings' morning skate yielded "no changes" from Friday's lineup and Petr Mrazek starting for the Wings.
WGR 550's Paul Hamilton reports that the Sabres will go with Chad Johnson as their starting goaltender this evening...
Johnson in goal tonight.
Bylsma said same lineup as the Kings game.
At the time that Detroit drafted him in 2014—right before the announcement was made, Larkin turned to his father in the stands in Philadelphia and predicted, “This is it”—Larkin had finished a strong season with the USA Under-18 national team, based in Ann Arbor, and was soon to enroll at the University of Michigan. It’s easy to say the Wings plucked a gem from their backyard, but given the proximity of the U.S. development program’s headquarters, “There’s so many kids in our backyard,” Holland says.
Rather, what came next stunned even the Wings. Larkin tore through one season at Michigan, leading all NCAA freshmen with 47 points in 35 games, and enjoyed what Holland called a “coming-out party” at the Under-20 World Junior Championship, which earned him a 10-game stint with the national team at the world championships in the Czech Republic. When Holland and then-coach Mike Babcock flew overseas to watch and meet with Larkin, he informed them he had decided to turn pro. Then he inquired about the status of Detroit’s AHL affiliate. “The next thing out of his mouth was, ‘If Grand Rapids is still playing, can I go there?’” Holland recalls.
The buzz soon reached the Red Wings’ locker room, especially after Larkin put up five points in six postseason games for the Griffins. “We knew he was good,” Zetterberg says, “but I don’t think anyone expected him to do this well.”
Updated 4x at 11:41 AM: The Red Wings hope to push their points streak to 14 games as they take on the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/MSG B/Bell/97.1 FM), and according to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, history is on the Wings' side:
Since moving to JLA in 1979, #RedWings (.641) have best home win% of Detroit's pro teams: @DetroitPistons .629; @tigers .531; @Lions .505.
The #RedWings host the @BuffaloSabres tonight at Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit holds a 25-10-3-1 all-time mark over the Sabres.
The Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just before 10:30 AM, per Fox 2 Sports...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
PK needs to be better
It's no coincidence that the Red Wings' penalty kill has suffered since Drew Miller was sidelined on Dec. 3 with a broken jaw. They ranked seventh in the NHL at 83.7 percent when Miller, their top penalty-killing forward, was injured.
Since then, they've dropped to 14th at 81.2 percent, having allowed five power-play goals on 15 chances.
Marchenko solidifies spot
Rookie Alexey Marchenko appears to have locked down a spot in the lineup, having appeared in all 23 games since he was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins on Oct. 24, following Kyle Quincey's injury.
The Red Wings like Marchenko's steady hand. He doesn't shy away from a hit to make a play. He makes good decisions with the puck.
Jakub Kindl has been a healthy scratch the past six games.
The Detroit Red Wings take on the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/MSG B/Bell/97.1 FM) hoping to continue their 8-0-and-5 points streak against a Sabres team that's been a streak-buster.
The Sabres defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on OT on Saturday, snapping the Kings' 6-game winning streak and ending a 3-game Sabres losing streak.
With Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn on 7 and 8-game point streaks, respectively, the Sabres are eying the Red Wings as a fine target with which to make a second consecutive "statement" game, as they told the Buffalo News's John Vogl:
The Red Wings posted a "There's More to the Story" video chronicling Pavel Datsyuk's youth, background and career with the Red Wings, and this is five minutes of fantastic storytelling--told by Datsyuk himself--capped off with two minutes of gratuitous highlights:
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