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Afternoon news: On the Wings’ goals-against average, ‘winning one for Howard’ and one-goal games

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an off-day notebook discussing the Wings' concerns regarding their goals-against--or the lack thereof...

Speaking after [Monday's] game about the sudden surge in goals allowed, team captain Henrik Zetterberg wanted to scratch Sunday's result because it was "tough goals," he said, adding that Monday's outcome came down to "mental mistakes. That will happen in the course of a season. We just have to keep playing the way we want to and minimize our turnovers  and we will be fine."

Gustav Nyquist called Sunday's game "crazy, both ways." Darren Helm said, "that's not the team we want to be."

The resounding perspective within the locker room was that the two games were a blip, not a trend. Head coach Jeff Blashill said he didn't think his team gave up "that much more than in previous games" in actual scoring chances.

Thursday begins a three-game road trip, with further stops at Ottawa and the New York Rangers. After excelling on the road throughout January, the Wings are 0-3 on the road to start February.

2. Among MLive's Ansar Khan's notes:

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Need A Larger Sample Size To Judge Petr Mrazek

from Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet,

While the Boston Bruins took a bit of the shine off him in his most recent start, Petr Mrazek has been having a phenomenal first season as starting goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings. His .930 save percentage is a big reason why the Wings are solidly in the playoff picture, despite a goal differential that has hovered at or around zero for much of the season.

Mrazek is tied for third in the NHL in save percentage among goalies with with 30+ games played, and he is tied for first in even strength save percentage at .942, with Cory Schneider.

The question for the Red Wings is whether this is the kind of play they can expect from Mrazek going forward in his career.

Even Strength save percentage is a better predictor of future success than all situations save percentage, but with Mrazek, we’re still dealing with a relatively small sample.

One way we can look at how Mrazek is trending as a goaltender is to look at his save percentages by zone. We know that goaltenders who stop the highest percentage of shots from the red zone or inner slot have the highest likelihood of repeating good save percentages in all areas, as that area remains more consistent than others do.


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Prospect news: McCollum discusses AHL longevity; Griffins to hold ‘Purple Game’ on Friday

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took a shot, won 50% of his faceoffs and finished at -2 in 10:59 of ice time as Skellefetea AIK lost 5-2 to Linkopings HC;

In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin won 63% of his faceoffs, finished at -1 and played 9:33 in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-1 loss to Jokerit;

In the AHL, The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum as the longest-tenured goaltender in Griffins history:

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The NHL App makes a ‘funny ha’ reference to Dylan Larkin

From MLive's Ansar Khan...

And the Free Press:

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‘Three Things’: On Kronwall’s recovery, Datsyuk’s play and Butch Goring speaking with WDFN

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Via RedWingsFeed, on Monday evening, defenseman Niklas Kronwall provided a Swedish-language update of his status in recovering from knee surgery, speaking with Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom:

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‘He’s Pavel Datsyuk’ and he’s playing very well

From the Free Press's Helene St. James...

Pavel Datsyuk began a new week as he closed the old one: by scoring. Datsyuk’s goal midway through the third period of Monday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center was his sixth goal in the past five games. It was also the 310th of his career, pushing Datsyuk past Brendan Shanahan into seventh overall in goals in Red Wings history.

“He’s Pavel Datsyuk,” Henrik Zetterberg said with a smile. “I don’t think anyone is surprised. He is playing the way he always has been. Even as he gets older in age, he keeps playing the way he always has. Looking back at my career, he’s probably going to be the player that I’m most proud of playing with. We’ve had a lot of fun together.”

That especially has been true the past six games, which have seen the two reunited on the same line for the first time in years.

Gustav Nyquist passed the puck to Datsyuk for Monday’s goal.

“He’s really heating up here and producing,” Nyquist said. “Even when he wasn’t producing as much as he has done lately, he’s always a great player for us. When they got put together, him and Hank, seem to have gotten some energy off of that and are really finding each other. That’s great to see.”

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

Datsyuk’s hot streak last week coincided with coach Jeff Blashill reuniting Datsyuk and Zetterberg with Justin Abdelkader a big, bruising presence on the other wing. Blashill, also, figured it would just be a matter of time before Datsyuk’s offensive game clicked into gear.

“He was getting lots of chances and we all know when Pavel gets that many chances, he’s going to score,” Blashill said. “He was getting a little frustrated because he wasn’t scoring as much as he wanted. My message was keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes you have to keep grinding and doing exactly what you’re doing. In the end, he was able to score because he kept at it.”

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Prospect news: Turgeon 1+1

Of prospect-related note:

In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi finished at -2 in the Flint Firebirds' 5-2 loss to London;

And in the WHL, in a battle between Joe Hicketts' Victoria Royals and Dominic Turgeon's Portland Winterhawks, Turgeon scored a goal and assisted on the overtime winner as the Winterhawks defeated Victoria 2-1 in OT. Hicketts finished at -1 for Victoria.

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Better off than we think?

On an evening of discontent in Red Wings nation, Sports Illustrated's Joshua Kloke:

Credit is due to Blashill for ensuring the transition from Babcock was a smooth one, but the real reason for Detroit’s success, as is usually the case, is the depth in their lineup.Besides Zetterberg and Datsyuk, the Wings’ top five scorers include rookie Dylan Larkin, who is a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, as well as Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar, who are both producing the second-highest points per 60 minutes totals (all situations) of their respective careers. For all the inherent risk in relying on Zetterberg and Datsyuk, two skaters who are on the long side of 35, the supporting cast has quietly gone about its business.

As we approach the February 29 trade deadline, the list of buyers in the market will be obvious. Washington, Florida, Dallas, St. Louis and Chicago will all try to upgrade and fill holes for Stanley Cup run. But a look up and down Detroit’s roster begs the obvious question: Do the Red Wings even need to make a drastic move? This team might just be good enough as is to contend for the Eastern Conference crown.

Detroit GM Ken Holland is up against the salary cap. That’s a blessing and a curse: The Wings won’t be able to do much in the trade market, so their focus will be on readying the pieces they have for a the playoffs. There are no glaring gaps in the lineup. Petr Mrazek has emerged as a likely Vezina Trophy candidate, sporting top five numbers in both save percentage and goals-against average. Jimmy Howard hasn’t looked capable of taking the Red Wings to the next level in recent years but Mrazek, like many on the roster, is heating up at just the right time.

There are 25 games left on Detroit’s regular season slate. Over the course of those games, it should come as no surprise if a typically strong Red Wings team emerges as one of the most formidable dark horses in the East.

Kloke continues...

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Red Wings-islanders wrap-up: Low-energy Wings falter in Brooklyn

Updated with post-game videos at 11:24 PM: The Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders was just plain weird. The Wings came out strongly but hit energy and "compete level" walls when the Islanders scored their first goal, they surrendered a pair of second-period goals in 1:06 that put the game out of reach, and while Pavel Datsyuk ensured that the Wings wouldn't be shut out, the one particularly soft goal that Jimmy Howard gave up served as the salt-away marker in that 4-1 loss.

You could argue that Howard didn't have a good game and be correct, but he didn't get much help from the players in front of him, and for whatever reason, a team playing its second game in 2 days, its 3rd in 4 nights and 5th in 8 looked absolutely mentally and physically exhausted.

This reflected the stinging nature of the loss:

The Islanders were happy to both bounce back from a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday and to finally beat the Wings, as NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright noted:

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The Post-Game Talk After Detroit’s 4-1 Loss To The New York Islanders

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Jimmy Howard is still waiting for the puck to start bouncing his way.

His miserable season continued Monday afternoon in a Presidents Day special at the Barclays Center, as the New York Islanders defeated the Red Wings 4-1.

The Islanders scored three second-period goals, which meant another tough day for Howard, who saw his personal winless streak reach nine games (0-6-3) with the loss. Howard hasn’t won a game since Dec. 3 against Arizona.

“Jimmy played good; he just has to keep focusing on playing good hockey,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He can’t score more goals for us. He has to keep playing as well as he can.”

Howard declined to speak with reporters after the game....

“Jimmy has decided he’s going to keep his head up and keep working hard to get better,” said Blashill of Howard’s approach. “He’s making sure he’s putting himself in the best possible position and he looked extremely prepared.

“It just didn’t go his way.”

read on

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

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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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