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The Malik Report

The Stamkos-Garrison ‘double team’ on Abdelkader was…suspect

I'm a biased Red Wings fan pretending to be an objective blogger on the internet, and I understand that Jason Garrison was very annoyed at Justin Abdelkader for the accidental/apologized-for ankle injury and/or concussion suffered in the Wings and Bolts' last regular-season meeting, but this reminded me of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger's double-teaming of Tomas Holmstrom circa 2007:

Abdelkader emerged from the exchange with his head still on his shoulders and no head injury, but the Lightning continued to attempt to injure Red Wings players for the balance of the third period, and usually the team that's the first to crack in the physical department has the shortest spring.

The Wings scored the 3-0 goal on the Stamkos penalty; why Garrison wasn't penalized, and why both sides weren't penalized on some of these exchanges, is beyond me.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 5 quick take: stolen holiday

From here on out, it's about staving off elimination--stavnig off locker room clean-out day and the dispersal of players to the World Championships, their off-season homes, and in some cases, other teams. During the latter part of any playoff series, seasons and livelihoods are literally on the line, and the team that doesn't earn its luck earns a four-month vacation.

The Red Wings were the ones who bore down on Tampa Bay with unrelenting pressure from the goaltender on out, strong defense, great backchecking, shot-blocking and stout defensive play, and when you add in some fantastic goaltending to the mix and squeeze some clutch scoring into the equation, Detroit earned, earned, earned its 4-0 victory over the scummily dirty Tampa Bay Lightning, who tried to and nearly succeeded in injuring DeKeyser, Quincey, Abdelkader, Glendening and others (in a game the refs lost control of, but oh well, Detroit Honey Badgered along).

Now the Wings and Lightning come back to the Joe for a TBD-Monday start with the Wings prepared to close out the series, and the Bolts coming to the Joe having truly cracked in terms of their temper and resolve.

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Status Quo For The Wings Tonight

via Ansar Khan tweets,

Babcock said same lineup as last game.

Babcock said he expects Glendening (hand) to be able to take faceoffs. If not, he'll move Andersson to that line in place of Ferraro.

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Jeff Blashill Ready For The Playoffs

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Blashill's work continues to keep his profile high for an NHL position this summer. He's often called the best coaching prospect not currently in The Show and that means clubs such as the Leafs will be watching closely.

The 41-year-old is currently charged with maintaining the Wings 'model' under general manager Ken Holland and Babcock: Leave players on the farm until major development concerns are addressed. Half the Wings' current roster cut their teeth with Blashill's 2013 Calder Cup champs.

"Our players have to earn (jobs in Detroit), they're not entitled," Blashill said. "I was fortunate enough to spend a year as Mike's assistant in Detroit. I know what it takes to play for him, what he will demand of them. There's synergy between us.

"We had early struggles that set us back, but we've had great two-way centres such as Andy Miele and Tomas Nosek. And we're blessed with leadership in Nathan Paetsch, Jeff Hoggan and Brennan Evans. Part of their role is to see these young guys reach their goals."

Calder success continues to be a portal to the NHL. Jon Cooper clinched his job with parent Tampa Bay after Norfolk beat Dallas Eakins and the Marlies in the 2012 final, with Eakins hired the next year in Edmonton. Last year's Western Conference finalists, Willy Desjardins of the Texas Stars and Marlies' Steve Spott were also promoted, to head coach in Vancouver and assistant in Toronto. Isn't Blashill overdue?

"I'm doing my very best to focus on the playoffs right now," Blashill said.

"I know if I do the very best job I can here, things will unfold for me later."

more on the playoff matchup between the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins...

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Quick Hits- Wings/Lightning

from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,

- One factor that could play in the Wings’ factor is experience. “The leadership in this room is unbelievable,” Glendening said. “It starts with Z (captain Henrik Zetterberg) and Kronner (defenceman Niklas Kronwall) and Pav (Datsyuk), those guys lead the every night on the ice and off. We will lean on them heavily here.”

- Special teams have come under scrutiny and for good reason. The Lightning has had 21 power-plays — the most for any team in the playoffs before games were played on Friday — but had managed to score just two goals with the man-advantage. “For our power play to not be clicking the way we want it to, and the series tied 2-2, it may work in our favour,” Cooper said, “because eventually it is going to (start producing goals). I will take our chances with some of the skill we put out there.”

- While the Wings are thrilled that they’ve been so successful while shorthanded thanks to the efforts of Drew Miller, Kronwall and goalie Petr Mrazek and others, it’s getting to be a little much. Babcock said as much earlier in the week, and forward Gustav Nyquist had a similar thought. “We have taken too many penalties and it’s something we have to change because they have dangerous guys,” Nyquist said. “Any time you get a penalty, the penalty killers have to go out and your lines are a little disrupted. There’s no flow, and it wears on the guys.” 

more on the Wings and Lightning...

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

The Red Wings can talk all they want about feeling fine and how today is a new day, but deep down they have to be an emotional wreck after letting the Lightning crawl out of the grave. They were moments away from needing to win just one of three games left to take the series. Now they need to win twice, including once in Tampa Bay.

So going into tonight's game, the Lightning has the mental advantage. But just imagine what the shift will be if the Lighting loses Game 5.

"All we did was put ourselves back in the series,'' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We didn't win the series. Clearly, this is a pivotal game. … We were thinking about Game 5 five minutes after 'Johnny' scored (in overtime).''

The Lightning needed to immediately turn its attention to Game 5 because the Game 4 victory has not solved all its problems. Though momentum and emotions are sporting blue-and-white sweaters with a big Lightning bolt on them, Tampa Bay still has issues.


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The Wings Must Put Game 4 Behind Them

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings must show their mental toughness by bouncing back from this one.

"There's no time to hang your head," Miller said. "It comes back here pretty quick and we're right back at it. This is playoffs; you can never get too high, you can never get too low. Forget about the game and get ready for the next one.

"You don't worry about, 'Oh man, poor us.' "

The Red Wings must win another game in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning boasted the best home record in the league (32-8-1) and outplayed them by a significant margin the first two games.

"Obviously, it's a shot in the gut anytime you are in a situation where you think are in a real a good spot and suddenly it goes away that quick," Babcock said after practice Friday in Tampa. "We played a real good game and in five minutes we end up losing, so that's hard.

"I've coached a long time, been around a lot of championship teams. Every championship team I've ever been involved with goes through adversity. What you do is you embrace the adversity and it allows you to get better. Without it, you never, ever win in the end. So to me here's some adversity, let's dig in, let's understand our plan; let's understand how well we played Games 3 and 4. Maybe Game 4 was our best game."


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Short Practice Report- Glendening Will Play On Saturday

The Wings had a short practice today in the Tampa area and beat writers report Luke Glendening will play tomorrow per Ken Holland.

He needed some stitches in on his hand last night.

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Teemu Pulkkinen Assigned To Grand Rapids


added 12:51pm, Release is below...

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Wings Fail To Finish

from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,

They were six minutes from a stranglehold grip and then, like one of those movies where the hero gets distracted by someone screaming, the Red Wings loosened their hold just for a moment.

And got sucker punched.

Shish. Boom. Bang. A goal on a great individual effort. A goal on great team passing. A goal in overtime to pull down the curtain.

And a tie series.

"Never a doubt, was there?" joked Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper.

Not funny, pal.

Fortunes change. The Wings, still rubbing their eyes after this 3-2 overtime stunner, are heading to Tampa Bay minus home-ice advantage, minus the health of a key player and minus the confidence they would have had in this first-round playoff series if they had been able to finish what they started — or somehow hid the puck for the final six minutes, once the hugely valuable Luke Glendening left the ice with a hand injury.

Instead, it's a best-of-three now against a team that, as Cooper put it, "grew a couple of inches."


Below, watch both coaches post-game...

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Saturday’s Game 5 of the Wings-Bolts series will begin at 6 PM EDT

Thanks to the Nashville Predators' win on Thursday, the fifth game of the Detroit Red Wings-Tampa Bay Lightning series will start at 6 PM EDT on Saturday, April 25th, and the game will air on Fox Sports Detroit and Fox Sports Florida.

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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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