Jimmy Howard stops Rick Nash
The veteran netminder may be fighting for his job again, but he put all his energy in the right direction by baffling the New York Rangers
Small sample size, I know, but the Detroit Red Wings have been one of the worst possession teams in the NHL so far. And yet, thanks to some crack goaltending this week, the team is 2-2. Petr Mrazek shut the door on Ottawa Monday and last night, it was Jimmy Howard's turn to make magic.
And oh, how the veteran did conjure. Check out this highlight package in Detroit's 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers:
Howard made 32 saves in total. Now, you may ask yourself, how did the Rangers get so many freakin' breakaways? Well, that is coach Jeff Blashill's burden right now and probably will be for awhile as the Red Wings adjust to life with an evolving 'D' corps and without Selke master Pavel Datsyuk up front. But for at least one shining night, Howard was the hero. The feisty netminder's career has been marked by ups and downs in Detroit and in recent years, the downs have been winning out. If the Red Wings have any hope of extending their famous playoff streak, both he and Mrazek will have to work as a platoon – because neither could sustain excellence full-time last season and it almost sunk the squad.
The challenge is even greater this season and while you can cheat possession numbers for awhile, the only way to fake it into the playoffs is to get outstanding goaltending all the way through.