The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Driven Vanek on a streak
Thomas Vanek said before the season he was highly motivated to prove he can produce - and he's done just that.
Vanek is riding a five-game points streak (four goals, four assists). He is tied with Mantha and Dylan Larkin for the team lead with 11 goals in just 33 games. He leads the club in points per game (.91) and is second in assists (18) and points (29).
He has gone two games without a point just once and has at least one point in 22 of 33 games.
Larkin in a funk
Larkin has had tough adjustment to center. He was moved back to the wing in Saturday's 6-3 victory over Pittsburgh, and that's where he'll likely remain, especially after Helm returns.
That should give Larkin more offensive freedom. He has one point (an assist) and a minus-5 rating in the past six games. He is a team-worst minus-17 and his ice time has been trimmed recently.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Ansar Khan tweets,
RedWings on ice for practice. Jared Coreau in starter's net. Face @CanadiensMTL tomorrow at 3 pm
RedWings work power play entries:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Nielsen, Vanek, Green
Athanasiou-Larkin (Tatar)-Mantha, Abdelkader, DeKeyser
added 1:43pm, Khan...
Jurco, Ott extras
defense pairs same:
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
The speedy forward was back in the lineup the next night and responded by picking up a goal and two assists in a 4-0 victory at Los Angeles. He scored in the Red Wings' next two games as well, was blanked Thursday in a 4-0 loss at Dallas and then brought the Joe Louis Arena crowd to its feet vs. the Penguins.
Athanasiou said he hasn't done anything differently since being benched.
"Just stuck to my game plan and not trying to force anything," he said. "When the play is there, make it and if not just be in the right position."
Blashill credited Athanasiou for single-handedly producing the winning goal.
"It's a big goal kind of out of nothing," Blashill said. "The one thing Double A has is he's got the ability to break people down and score goals on his own. Obviously he took it end to end and scored a goal on his own.
"It's hard to score goals in this league and when you get somebody that can self-create and do it on his own, it's a big thing."
Added captain Henrik Zetterberg: "He has that skill and he has that speed. He's been close before and it was a really nice finish on this one. I don't think confidence is an issue with him. He's always trying stuff and he's got a lot of skill so he's a fun player to have on your team."
Below, watch the extended highlight of last night's win over the Penguins...
For Red Wings fans, there was the goal, and there was the game. The goal was Andreas Athanasiou's gorgeous end-to-end rush, breakaway and goal against Marc-Andre Fleury...
And the game was a much-needed 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, a victory that delivered exactly what the Red Wings needed after coming home from a 2-3-and-2 road trip.
Our friends from Pittsburgh were perhaps slightly less concerned with the loss than they were the loss of Kris Letang, as they told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jason Mackey:
The Red Wings returned from a very mediocre 7-game road trip to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, hoping that the confines of home would finally turn friendly.
The Red Wings found their offense in a big way, generating goals from six goal-scorers and receiving a superb 28-save performance from Jared Coreau en route to a 6-3 victory over the Penguins.
If the Red Wings are, as Mickey Redmond described it, to "make things interesting," the Wings absolutely must use this game--minus surrendering the 2-0 lead--as a template going forward, because the Wings' offense has to be top-notch, its power play has to strike, and the Wings' goaltending has to be superb for Detroit to make a real push here.
Andreas Athanasiou scored an elegant end-to-end breakaway goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night:
from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,
Tonight will be a milestone night for Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen.
If Jensen plays at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as expected, it will mark his 10th NHL game, meaning he will need to be placed on waivers to be sent down to the AHL after tonight.
"I've known about it," Jensen said after Saturday's morning skate. "I don't really think about it much. I'm going game by game and just trying to earn my spot here. Whatever happens happens. I'm just trying to control what I can control."
Wings coach Jeff Blashill has had faith in Jensen dating back to their time together with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
"I've known him a long time," Blashill said. "He's a real even-keeled person. I don't think he gets too high, too low. I don't think he gets too nervous. He just plays. He attacks it a bit. The one thing I've liked about him is he attacks the game. He makes a mistake, he puts it behind him and he continues to attack the game. He's got lots of experience. He was a real good player in the USHL, he was a real good player in the WCHA, and then he's had a number of years in the American League. He's definitely prepared for the opportunity and he's done a good job so far."
continued plus more on the Wings
from Jonathan Bombulie of Chipped Ice at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
I think tonight’s game is a good indicator of whether the Penguins are in a slump or not.
Remember slumps? That’s when a team loses several games in a row. They haven’t happened much under Sullivan. Like, not at all in the previous 90 games. But there is an opportunity for one to start here tonight.
The loss to Washington on Wednesday is not an indicator of a slump. The Caps are the hottest team in the league.
The loss to Ottawa on Thursday is not an indicator of a slump. That was a scheduled loss if ever I’ve seen one. The Penguins arrived at their hotel at 3 a.m. Thursday while the Senators were home resting for three days.
The Red Wings, meanwhile, are in that feared first-home-game-after-a-long-road-trip spot. They went 2-3-2 on their recently completed trip. They’re tied with the Islanders for last place in the conference.
Their young forwards haven’t taken a step forward. I’m not sure how many of their healthy D could crack the Penguins’ top six. One? Two tops? Petr Mrazek has struggled in the absence of Jimmy Howard due to injury.
more including defenisve pairings and line combinations...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Coreau is starting for the sixth time in 10 games since Jimmy Howard suffered a knee injury on Dec. 20. That's because Petr Mrazek has been inconsistent (3.19 GAA, .893 save percentage).
How does Blashill decide his starting goalie?
"Just the same way we decide all our players -- we evaluate, we watch, we make decisions on who we think is going to give us the best chance to win each night," Blashill said.
Coreau has played well, with the exception of three bad periods - the third period in Pittsburgh and in the Centennial Classic against Toronto, and the first period in San Jose.
"When he's playing his best he uses his size (6-6) very well," Blashill said. "He doesn't over-move, nothing goes through him, he controls his rebounds well. You got to make big saves at big moments. That's the difference in the league lots of times.
"We've got lots of confidence in him. We've got to make sure we do a good job of limiting those big-time chances against."
lines at skate:
defense pairs at skate:
Looks like Sproul scratched. Kronwall (groin) skating.
If Jensen plays tonight it will be his 10th game, so he would need to clear waivers to be sent down to @griffinshockey
added 10:39am, Khan with the pp units....
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.