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The Daily: Panthers Creep Toward Playoffs; Mazur Up For Awards

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Carter Mazur, Detroit Red Wings prospect
Carter Mazur has 22 goals in 38 games for Denver this season.

Pondering Carter Mazur’s potential is an acceptable pastime for Detroit Red Wings fans these days. Red Wings Nation is eager to see Detroit’s prospect band on a quick-step march to Detroit. The Red Wings have provided no hints to their intentions with Mazur, but signing him after he completes his sophomore season at Denver seems logical.

Mazur has scored 36 goals and put up 75 points thus far in his collegiate career. He also helped Denver win a national championship last season and they are in the hunt for a repeat this season. It doesn’t seem like he has too much more to prove at the college level.

But that is his decision to make.

From the professional perspective, he also has snarl and bite in his game. He plays with an edginess. He could someday provide the kind of energy that Tyler Bertuzzi did for the Red Wings.

However, Mazur’s most immediate concern is today’s 4 p.m. Denver vs. Colorado National Collegiate Hockey Conference semifinal game.  If the Pioneers win, they advance to the final to meet either North Dakota or St. Cloud State. The championship game is tomorrow.

Denver will have the NCAA tournament after this tournament is completed.

Meanwhile,  Mazur is a finalist for two league awards. He’s up for defensive forward of the year. Jami Krannila, Sr., St. Cloud State; Micah Miller, 5th-Sr., St. Cloud State and Nolan Sullivan, Sr., Omaha are the other finalists.

He’s also a finalist for the Three Star Award with Magnus Chrona, Sr., G, Denver and Kaidan Mbereko, Fr., G, Colorado College.

Mazur was also named Second-Team All-NCHC for his play this season.

Griffins Earn Important Win in Cleveland

Dominik Shine’s 50th goal as a professional player gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 overtime win against the Cleveland Monsters Thursday night. Detroit prospect defenseman Jared McIsaac’s nifty pass set up the tally.

The Griffins are now eight points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand to the Iowa Wild.

Austin Czarnik, recently sent down to Grand Rapids, also scored for the Griffins.

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

Bob Duff writes Jakub Vrana has started hot with the St. Louis Blues, scoring four goals in his first five games.

Nate Brown offers a paywall story on five thoughts for the Red Wings’ final games of the season.

Defenseman Ben Chiarot is the latest Detroit player to join the injured list. Coach Derek Lalonde said he expects Chiarot to be back before the end of the season. But this injury is more “week to week” than “day to day.” Lalonde also said Robby Fabbri is getting closer, but they will remain cautious in dealing with his injury.

Red Wings’ Next Game

The Red Wings (30-28-9) play at home Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche (37-22-6) in a matinee (1 p.m.) game. When the Avalanche play Detroit, it will be their third game in four days. The Avalanche have won games in a row.

Hockey Now Network

Boston: Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort left the Bruins-Jets game midway through the second period on Thursday night and did not return. Boston Bruins.

Colorado: The Avalanche fourth consecutive win wasn’t a work of art, but they are getting it done. Colorado Avalanche.

Florida: Don’t look now, but the Florida Panthers are creeping toward a playoff position.

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Montreal: The Canadiens lost a celebration of goals against the Florida Panthers. Montreal Canadiens.

New York: Engvall deadline acquisition paying off for the Islanders. He’s still hot. New York Islanders.

Philadelphia: Key Flyers prospect is joining their American Hockey League affiliate. Philadelphia Flyers. 

Pittsburgh: Forget about the Penguins’ long-shot hope of catching the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan. They didn’t rise up in a loss to the New York Rangers. Are the Penguins in danger of missing the playoffs? Pittsburgh Penguins.

Washington:  Odds are against the Capitals. But despite selling off key players at the NHL trade deadline, and the potential for a lottery pick, the Washington Capitals are still scrapping to qualify for the playoffs.