Battling Rask

From’s Arthur J. Regner:

[Tuukka] Rask, who will start against the Red Wings, has not lost in regulation since November 26. He is 18-0-2 in his last 21 games and is on a personal point streak of 20 games.

He’s 21-8-4 this season with a 2.09 goals-against average, .925 save percentage with two shutouts.

“He must feel like he’s in the zone. He’s been playing really well, just like their whole team,” Gustav Nyquist said. “I can’t say I’ve watched too many games of them, but obviously he must have been playing real well to be on a points streak like that. He’s been a good goalie in this league for a long time now. He’s a tough goalie to beat.”


A pair of Game-Day Preview videos

The Red Wings posted a Game-Day Preview video ahead of tonight’s game against the Boston Bruins (7:30 PM on FSD/NESN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM)…

And Darren Eliot and Trevor Thompson offer a “Digital Pre-Game”:

The Athletic’s Custance on David Pope

I’ve been plugging David Pope in my prospect write-ups for some time now as the lanky University of Nebraska-Omaha winger has done a wonderful job of cranking up his offense during his senior season. Today, The Athletic’s Craig Custance wrote an article profiling Pope, discussing his evolution as a player through a lot of hard work, and discussing his future as well:

“As of right now, I’m 100 percent set on going to Detroit,” Pope told The Athletic on Monday.

There are a couple of reasons for that. For one, the Red Wings offer an option he couldn’t take if he waited until August to sign with an NHL team. When his college season is over, the Red Wings can sign him to play in the AHL this spring, potentially for a playoff run if Grand Rapids makes another one.

That’s valuable opportunity for a player who will be 24 years old at the start of training camp next season, or to put that in perspective, two years older than Dylan Larkin will be in camp. There’s likely an AHL stint ahead for Pope regardless and getting that taste in early has value. At least, that will be the Red Wings’ pitch.

“The ones who spend time in the American League right after college — it’s a great barometer for them to set where they need to be next fall,” [Wings assistant GM Ryan] Martin said. “It’s a league of men. It’s a pro league. Hopefully we’re a playoff team in Grand Rapids and he has the opportunity to come in and play games at the end of the year.”

Continued (paywall)

Red Wings-Bruins game-day articles: On Howard the starter, Mrazek the role model and the rolling B’s

The Detroit Red Wings will start Jimmy Howard opposite Tuukka Rask when the Wings host the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/NESN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM). The morning skates for both teams weren’t particularly revealing, though Darren Helm is apparently a “game-time decision” for the Wings.

If you missed it, Wings coach Jeff Blashill explained why he’s starting Howard tonight, speaking with MLive’s Ansar Khan

Continue reading Red Wings-Bruins game-day articles: On Howard the starter, Mrazek the role model and the rolling B’s

Howie starts vs. the B’s

MLive’s Ansar Khan asked Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill why Jimmy Howard will start against the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/NESN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM):

“Petr played really well a few games in a row; I’m going to go to Howie here tonight,” coach Jeff Blashill said following an optional morning skate. “I got belief in both of them. We’re going to need both to be real good down the stretch. We need elite goaltending and we’re going to need that from both of them.”

Howard’s last win was on Jan. 5 vs. Florida (4-2). He suffered a lower-body injury late in the game but finished. He missed the next game against Tampa Bay. Since then Howard has gone 0-4, with a 4.62 goals-against average and .861 save percentage. He lasted only 8:47 in his most recent stint, a 5-1 loss to Chicago on Jan. 25, when he allowed three goals on nine shots.

“Not every player scores every night and not every goalie is going to stop it every night, and I just think sometimes you get in a groove one way or the other,” Blashill said. “He’s had a chance here to go to work with (goaltending coach) Jeff Salajko. Both he and Petr work real hard at their game. I don’t see anything from a technical standpoint that will preclude him from having lots of success tonight. But every game takes a life of its own. Hopefully the puck hits hit early and sticks to him and he feels good and he has a great game for us.”’s article about STEM day at LCA’s Josh Berenter penned an article about the Red Wings’ annual STEM Day, held at Little Caesars Arena on Monday:

Nearly 300 students from 10 Detroit Public Schools who are involved in the Future Goals program were invited to the Red Wings’ new arena Monday morning to hear from guest speakers about their STEM-related careers and engage in STEM-related Q & A sessions. The students also got to watch a live Red Wings practice and enjoyed a Little Caesars pizza lunch on the concourse.

“It’s an awesome opportunity. We’re so grateful to the Red Wings and Chevrolet,” said Detroit Public Schools Foundation president and CEO Pamela Moore. “It’s an awesome arena. The students learned about how the ice is made, how the stadium was built, the engineers behind the work, what they do every day. It was a day of learning and really a day of fun.”

Detoit Public Schools in attendance were the Academy of the Americas, Bates Academy, Harms Elementary School, Davison Elementary-Middle School, Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, Clark Preparatory, Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School, A.L. Holmes Academy, Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy and Cooke Elementary School.

STEM Day guest speakers included Chevrolet vehicle performance engineer Miles Egbert, Little Caesars Arena operations manager Al Sobotka and Red Wings director of broadcasting and engineering Sheldon Nueman.


Red Wings-Bruins morning skate Tweets: Khan reports it’s an optional, and that Howard starts

The Detroit Red Wings face a difficult task in attempting to defeat the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/NESN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM). The surging Bruins have a 12-1-and-1 record against the Red Wings, and Tuukka Rask, tonight’s starter, is on a 16-0-and-2 run.

The Wings took to the ice at Little Caesars Arena just after 10:30 AM for their morning skate, as noted by Fox 2’s Sky Kerstein…

MLive’s Ansar Khan…

And the Red Wings:

Continue reading Red Wings-Bruins morning skate Tweets: Khan reports it’s an optional, and that Howard starts

Prospect round-up: Kotkansalo’s BU Terriers win 2OT game; Griffins recall McCarron, Tansey from Walleye

In NCAA hockey, at the Beanpot tournament: Kasper Kotkansalo finished at +1 as the Boston University Terriers won 3-2 in double OT over Harvard. BU advances to the Beanpot final, where they’ll play Northeastern on Monday the 12th;

In the Swedish Allsvenskan, Malte Setkov played as the 7th defenseman in IK Pantern’s 5-4 OT win over IK Oskarshamn, playing 13:45. Setkov has only posted 2 assists with IK Pantern, but he’s playing a step up from the J20 league he played in last season.

And in the AHL, ahead of home games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the Grand Rapids Griffins recalled defensemen Patrick McCarron and Kevin Tansey from Toledo. One never knows who might be banged up in the AHL as there’s no injury disclosure policy.

The overnight report: Red Wings-Bruins set-up–Wings face long odds against surging Bruins

The Detroit Red Wings face a hell of an opponent in the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/NESN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).

The 31-11-and-8 Bruins sit a full 20 points ahead of the Red Wings, and they’ve won 7 of their past 8 games, including a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs this past Saturday; tonight’s starter for the B’s, Tuukka Rask, is on an 16-0-and-2 run, and against Detroit, Boston boasts a stunning 12-1-and-1 record, having last lost to the Wings on Valentine’s Day, 2016.

Detroit gets a wee bit of a break in that Bruins leading scorer Brad Marchand is out to serve the final game of his 5-game suspension, but the Bruins are stacked fairly heavily.

NBCS Boston’s Joe Haggerty suggests that the Bruins deserve Patriots-level hype, and Haggerty backs up his boast:

This is a Bruins team that’s gone 25-4-4 since benching Tuukka Rask for four games in mid-November. This is a Bruins team that’s gone a ridiculous 49-19-9 over the last year under Bruce Cassidy since memorably sacking Claude Julien on the morning of the Patriots Super Bowl celebration through Boston.

This is a hockey team well worth your attention while looking for the next winning lottery ticket in Boston’s pro sports landscape. They’re not the Big Bad Bruins of old or even the rough and tumble crew that hoisted the Cup back in 2011, but they have the most dominant forward trio in all of hockey with the Perfection Line of Brad Marchand (when he’s keeping his prominent nose out of trouble), Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

All three forwards are on pace to top 35 goals this season, and are a combined plus-55 on the season while looking like hockey’s version of the Harlem Globetrotters against defenders with no prayer of stopping them.

They are fourth in the league averaging 3.2 goals per game, and tops in the NHL allowing a piddling 2.4 goals per game. They do pretty much everything well, and even showed the kind of backbone and hard-nosed approach in wins last week vs. St. Louis and Toronto that could be a harbinger of some very good things in April and May.

According to the Boston Herald’s Stephen Conroy, the Bruins’ “supporting cast” has stepped up of late

It was all on display in Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the stars in the lineup did their job, they got ample contributions from others.

Soon-to-be-star defenseman Charlie McAvoy returned after missing two weeks due to a heart procedure and, though there was rust, he improved the team’s breakouts. Jake DeBrusk’s burst of speed through the neutral zone led to a power play after Patrick Marleau had to trip him, setting up David Pastrnak’s game-wining goal.

Tim Schaller stepped up to play on the third line and played an effective, grinding game down low before sealing the win with a long-range empty-netter. Some are even stepping outside of their comfort zone, as Ryan Spooner did when he knocked down former teammate Dominic Moore.

And then there was Adam McQuaid. Had Kevan Miller been healthy, McQuaid may not have even been in the lineup. His style of play fits much more snugly in the old station-to-station Bruins style of five or six years ago, not so much the fast-breaking B’s of today. But hockey can still be a rough, hard game and — as the intensity of games ramps up like the one on Saturday did — rough, hard men like McQuaid can be very useful.

And, as Haggerty noted, there’s a Michigan connection playing well for the B’s in Austin Czarnik, a Detroit native:

Czarnik was solid in a limited role during his season debut in Boston, recording a power-play assist in nine minutes of ice time as he stepped in when injuries and Brad Marchand’s suspension cut into the Bruins’ forward depth, and certainly merited another look simply based on his play. Czarnik served up the primary assist on Torey Krug’s insurance PP score in the second period of the big divisional win over Toronto, and the diminutive forward also skated effectively with Sean Kuraly and Frank Vatrano as a pieced-together fourth line.

“I [thought] he was good,” Bruce Cassidy said after the win over the Leafs. “Lots of energy, on the puck, made a play on the power play, which we’re used to seeing him make. I thought that whole line did their job pretty well, other than maybe the shift with a minute to go where they got hemmed in their own end a bit. But no complaints and that’s what we need.”

Czarnik, 25, leads Providence in scoring and is tied for sixth in the AHL in points with 13 goals and 42 points in 38 games. He was one of two P-Bruins selected to play in the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound forward has 5 goals and 16 points for Boston in parts of the last three seasons since signing an entry-level deal with the B’s out of college.’s Eric Russo asked the Bruins to size up the Red Wings:

The Bruins will be making their second visit to Detroit on Tuesday night. Boston’s first trip to Little Caesars Arena resulted in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory, during which Brad Marchand notched the winner in the extra session.

Detroit has posted a 4-5-1 record over its last 10 games and is currently 7 points out of the East’s second wild-card spot. The Rangers, who the Bruins will visit on Wednesday, have dropped two straight and have just three wins in their last 10.

As a result, Boston is expecting two teams with an added level of urgency.

“I think we’ve tried to always worry about ourselves first. I think we understand that the majority of the teams that we’re gonna be playing are in a little bit more of a fight than we are,” said Cassidy. “We all want our points…they are a little more desperate than we are – we have to be cognizant of that, but at the same time play our game.

“There’s too many games to get caught up every night in what the other team is doing. We always address what they do well, where we can attack them and go from there and try not to worry about the standings too much, to be perfectly honest. There’s no easy games in this league.”

Russo also posted the Bruins’ practice lineup; according to coach Cassidy (see attached video), this is the lineup Boston will dress tonight:

Monday’s Practice Lineup

There were no changes to the lineup following Saturday’s win over Toronto.

Danton HeinenPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciRyan Spooner
Tim SchallerRiley NashDavid Backes
Frank VatranoSean Kuraly – Austin Czarnik

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykAdam McQuaid
Paul Postma

Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

If you’re interested in revisiting the Bruins’ latest victory, the Associated Press and provide thorough recaps of the B’s 4-1 win over Toronto, and posted a highlight clip from Saturday’s game:

The STATS’ game preview will serve as our pivot point between the Bruins and Red Wings’ perspectives:

While stars like center Patrice Bergeron, left winger Brad Marchand, goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Zdeno Chara have certainly done their part, the Bruins have also gotten outstanding play from other sources. That includes grinders like forward Tim Schaller and defenseman Adam McQuaid and rookies defenseman Charlie McAvoy, center Danton Heinen and left winger Jake DeBrusk.

Schaller scored in Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Heinen had two assists. The other three did not get on the scoreboards but did the things necessary to help the Bruins get the win, particularly McQuaid, who has only played 14 games this season due to injury.

“That’s Adam. He’s a soldier for us. He hasn’t played a lot of hockey this year, so he’s still shaking off some rust with the puck making plays,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told the Boston Herald. “But he did a heck of a job for us in those areas of the game that we expect from him.”

Cassidy also talked about the play of the team’s first-year players.

“This week, (the rookies) have gotten a taste of it. Life on the walls, life at winning pucks, zone to zone at times, low-scoring games,” Cassidy said. “Mistakes get magnified in those games if you’re not careful, so it’s good for them to learn against these types of teams that we expect to see down the road.”

STATS’ preview notes that the Red Wings are having power play issues and goal-scoring issues in general:

Zetterberg hasn’t scored in 14 games. Rookie right winger Martin Frk has gone 17 games without a goal. Forward Andreas Athanasiou has gone seven games without scoring.

Center Dylan Larkin and rookie right winger Anthony Mantha have one goal in each of their last eight games. Left winger Tomas Tatar hasn’t scored in six games and has one goal in 11 games. Right winger Gustav Nyquist has one goal in his last 10 and center Frans Nielsen has one goal in 13 games.

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding the team’s forward corps…

Thankfully defensemen — namely Danny DeKeyser and Trevor Daley — have scored goals lately because the production from many of the forwards has been spotty.

The list of forwards struggling to score goals is getting longer.

Zetterberg hasn’t scored in 14 games. Martin Frk has gone 17 games without a goal, and Andreas Athanasiou has gone seven. Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha have one goal each in their last eight games.

Tomas Tatar hasn’t scored in six games and has one goal in 11 games, while Gustav Nyquist has one goal in his last 10 games and Frans Nielsen one goal in 13 games.

“We’ve talked, certainly in the last little bit, about the importance of our defense getting more offense and we’ve gotten that,” Blashill said. “But you can’t have the defense creating offense and the forwards go dry.

“We need as much offense as we can get without giving up any more defensively. We just have to keep going and hope as many guys get hot as possible.”

And the Free Press’s Helene St. James spoke with the Wings about their power play issues:

Since operating at 22.7 percent through the first 34 games, their power play has gone into a deep freeze, with four goals on 48 opportunities (8.3 percent) since Dec. 23.

“It’s not good enough,” Blashill said. “I said at the beginning of the year our special teams need to be in the top 10 in order to be a playoff team, and I still think for us to be a playoff team, our specials teams are going to have to be in the top 10. Our PK has looked better the last little bit but our power play hasn’t been good enough.

“We have to eliminate unforced errors and have a better attack mentality. If you get a puck, you have to make sure you talk and you hold on to it until you know where that puck is going — we can’t throw the puck away.”

The Wings are 0-for-8 the past three games.

“We’re not getting what we want out of our power play,” Zetterberg said. “I think we got some momentum lately. It’s been a little bit better than it was a while ago, but we need some goals. We are creating shots and chaos in front of the net, now we just have to get the puck behind the goalie.”

The Wings already moved personnel between the two units, and other than Frans Nielsen, there isn’t anyone who isn’t already on a unit that might get a look.
The Wings know they’ll have their hands full against the Bruins this evening, as coach Blashill told’s Dana Wakiji:

“They’re as good as any team in the league right now for sure,” Blashill said. “They’ve had a few games here without Charlie McAvoy, but I think Charlie McAvoy’s really helped that D corps. They’ve got other real good players obviously already and he just gave them another top four type guy. And then I just think (Patrice) Bergeron’s got to be one of the best players in the league right now. He plays a two-way game, never gets scored on and produces a lot of offense. That’s why that team is as good as they are. We talk about it, that’s what Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk did here for years.

“When you have centermen that are as complete as those guys have been in their careers, and as good as Bergeron is right now, that’s big-time winning hockey. Larks (Dylan Larkin) and I talked about that, Bergeron as a great example of a guy to really emulate, how he doesn’t give up anything but creates tons. It’s a hard thing to do but that’s what that team is winning as much as they are. They’ve got a lot of other good players, but when you have centermen that play – and David Krejci’s a heck of a player, too, and he plays a complete game. So you’ve got two guys up the middle that play real complete games. That’s how you win games.”

The Wings will also have to contend with Tuukka Rask, who is 21-8-4 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

“Both of their goalies are like .929 save percentage, and Rask has been extremely hot,” Blashill said. “When you get that kind of goaltending, it’s gonna help you, too. I think it’s always a combination of your team and your goaltender. I don’t know that anybody can post those kinds of numbers without the team playing great in front of him. Rask is obviously real hot, too. We’re going to have to get to the net hard.”

If you missed Monday’s practice post, the only lineup news we got wasn’t great: Henrik Zetterberg took a “maintenance day” (though he did speak with the media), and Darren Helm was listed as “questionable” for Wednesday after skipping practice.

In the multimedia department, the Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a clip in which Zetterberg and coach Blashill speak about the Wings’ crease issues

And the Red Wings’ website also posted Twitter clips of Zetterberg and Blashill’s media remarks:

Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: USA Today’s Kevin Allen wrote this about the Wings’ most tradeable asset…

Tampa Bay Lightning: This is a strong team top to bottom, but it could be bolstered by a right-shot defenseman who can play in coach Jon Cooper’s top four. It felt as if Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green was auditioning for fans when he played in the NHL All-Star Game in Tampa. He has a no-trade clause, but he likely would accept a deal to the Lightning.

And the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith penned a blurb about the scouts attending Monday night’s Lightning game (Tampa Bay lost 6-2 to Edmonton):

The Rangers, Blue Jackets and Red Wings were among the teams represented at Monday’s Lightning game. Those teams have potential defense targets for Tampa Bay, including the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh and the Red Wings’ Mike Green. The Islanders, Vegas (two), Leafs, Flyers, Jets and Islanders also had scouts there. The Lightning had a scout at the Rangers game in Dallas.

In the promotional department, the Red Wings have announced their Coca-Cola Fan Pack ticket dates for the remainder of the season

And this may be of interest to you: