Wings’ Marchenko is no-frills but plenty effective

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit's Alexey Marchenko and Tampa Bay's Valtteri Filppula battle for the puck in the second period of Game 2.

Detroit – He doesn’t get the headlines or attention of other Red Wings players, but it doesn’t seem to bother defenseman Alexey Marchenko.

A prototypical defenseman in many regards, Marchenko makes the good, safe plays, doesn’t do anything dazzling, and has been as steady and dependable as any Red Wings player.

“Every time you step on the ice you have to do your best,” said Marchenko of what he needs to do to be successful. “Not to get scored on and to help your team to score. You just need to help your team win.”

While other players have been replaced or added in recent games, it’s a sign of the coaching staff’s trust in Marchenko that he has remained.

“When Alexey is on top of his game, he’s a real good defender, very smart defensively,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It starts with tight gaps, and against a line like (Tyler) Johnson’s, you have to have tight gaps.

“He has a real good ability to pass the puck under pressure. He can handle forecheck pressure.”

Marchenko saw game action last year in the playoffs against Tampa Bay – but it’s been on a regular basis this season.

“The game is very different than the regular season,” said Marchenko of playoff hockey. “Way more physical. You have to manage the puck real well to get out of your zone.”

Marchenko found himself paired with Danny DeKeyser in Game 3.

“DK is a real good player; it’s pretty easy to play with him,” Marchenko said.

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Marchenko missed most of the second period in Game 3 when his head hit the glass on a check by Tampa’s Vladislav Namestnikov. Marchenko suffered a gash on his forehead but there were no signs of a concussion.

There was some talk Namestnikov’s hit was borderline late, but Marchenko called it a fair play.

“I wouldn’t say it was real bad,” Marchenko said. “It happens.”

Ice chips

There will be no changes to the Red Wings’ lineup in Game 4.

… The Lightning held an optional morning skate Tuesday (the majority of players didn’t skate) and coach Jon Cooper was unavailable to the media until later in the afternoon.

… In Game 3, the Wings had 20 minutes in penalties – half of the Lightning’s total – and they will probably need to stay out of the box again in Game 4 to win.

“If you let your emotions get to you, you’re going to pay a price,” forward Justin Abdelkader said.