The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Zetterberg's hot, Abdelkader's not
Henrik Zetterberg has points in nine of 11 games and is among the league's scoring leaders with 14 points. He needs one goal to reach 300 for his career, after picking up his 500th assist and 800th point on Saturday.
Justin Abdelkader, who's played every game on Zetterberg's line, has gone nine games without a point, after collecting four goals and an assist in the first two games, which earned him the NHL's No. 1 star honors for the opening week. Despite not scoring, Abdelkader has played physical (team-leading 31 hits) and had provided a net-front presence on several goals.
Maple Leafs in a free-fall
Mike Babcock expected rough times in Toronto after taking over behind the bench, but he probably didn't anticipate the disaster the Leafs appear to be.
Toronto (1-7-2) has lost four in a row, is winless in six (0-5-1) and is well on its way to missing the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons. Its lone win came on Oct. 16 against Columbus, which is 2-10.
The Red Wings visit Air Canada Centre on Friday. Detroit beat Toronto 4-0 in its season opener Oct. 9 at JLA.
The Maple Leafs rank 29th in goals per game at 2.00, ahead of only the puzzling Anaheim Ducks, and 28th in goals against per game (3.30). They are last on the power play at 7.4 percent and 28th on the penalty kill.
The Red Wings get back to work today ahead of a November schedule in which they play 13 games in 27 nights.
Ahead of Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning---who snapped a 4-game losing streak via a 4-3 win over Carolina on Sunday--the Free Press's Helene St. James duly noted that the Wings felt that they established something of a blueprint in their win over the Ottawa Senators.
Part of the Wings' success came from the 2 goals scored by and 5 points generated by their defensemen...
"It makes a big difference," Henrik Zetterberg said. "We worked on that a lot in camp, to get the D involved. Somewhere along the line we forgot to get them involved in games. We talked about it before our last game at home, we wanted to get the D more involved."
The seed was replanted Friday, and blossomed Saturday when two goals and three assists came from blue liners. Offensive involvement from the back end should get even stronger in another week, as defenseman Mike Green is expected to be ready to return from an upper-body injury.
Zetterberg celebrated 500 career assists and 800 career points during the game, but he has been productive since the season began. The difference in the past two Saturday games versus the ones in between, has been the production of Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
Getting "O from D" and generating some secondary scoring necessitate the Wings to succeed on their special teams as well:
Of prospect-related note:
Updated at 10:21 AM: I curled up and headed to bed around 3 PM EDT last night (i.e. 4 AM), and some videos relating to the Red Wings' 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators popped up overnight.
First, SomeHockeyVideos posted a clip of Chris Neil losing his shit trying to intimidate Jonathan Ericsson at the end of last night's game:
In happier news, the Wings posted a set of post-game comment videos (via RedWingsFeed), including comments from Dylan Larkin...
You don't see this every day, so here are Henrik Zetterberg's assists 500 and 501 and points 799 and 800, respectively, from AWood40:
The Red Wings made amends for Friday's flat performance as they defeated the Senators 5-3 on Saturday, taking the back half of the teams' back-to-back games, and while the game should have been marked for plays like this...
Mark Stone's hit on Landon Ferraro was perhaps the most egregious example of "crossing the line" in a scrappy game between the Red Wings and Senators on Saturday, but Ferraro is OK...
So I'm surprised to read this:
Update: Stone said this to Garrioch:
“I think I was leaning for the puck and when he got around me I knew he was going to get around me and it was just one of those bad instinct plays by me and it’s something I’m not proud of,” said Stone. “I’m glad he’s okay.”
Of prospect-related note:
In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn finished at -1 in 4:27 of ice time as the Frolunda Indians lost 4-2 to Brynas IF;
Axel Holmstrom took 3 shots in 12:17 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK defeated Malmo 2-0;
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi took 2 shots in the Flint Firebirds' 2-1 loss to Owen Sound;
In NCAA Hockey, Mike McKee scored a goal as his Western Michigan University Broncos defeated David Pope's University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 6-1.
And in the USHL, Chase Pearson had 3 assists and finished at +3 in the Youngstown Phantoms' 8-2 win over Sioux Falls;
And Pat Holway didn't play in the Dubuque Fighting Saints' 4-3 OT win over Bloomington.
The Red Wings faced off against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night engaging in something of a salvage mission. Detroit needed two points very badly to salvage their home-and-home series, to salvage their October, and to assuage the fears and misgivings of their fans.
Ultimately, the Red Wings won a sloppy 5-3 decision that was, at one point, a 5-1 victory, and while the final five or so minutes' worth of play muddied the waters, the Wings still emerged from the swamp in Kanata with a desperately-needed 2 points and a generally textbook performance as the Wings displayed their first 50+-minute performance since they defeated the Lightning on October 13th.
In the end, it was a little sloppy and a little inelegant, but the Wings finally out-skated, out-forechecked, out-transition-passed and out-played their opponent, and throughout the way, stood up to the kind of rough stuff that's intimidated the Wings early on in this young campaign.
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.