Howard did not start the year well, but he sure finished it well and enters the playoffs playing his best hockey of the season. He won 21 games with a 2.66 GAA and .910 SV%, but comes into Friday having won four of his last five while holding opponents to just two goes in each game. He is not Tuukka Rask, but if he can be close, the Red Wings have a shot.
Zetterberg has told the team that he will join the first part of practice Tuesday, nearly eight weeks after undergoing back surgery.
Zetterberg will not play when the first-round series against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins begins Friday, nor will he be available for Game 2 on Easter Sunday. That much already has been determined, general manager Ken Holland said. Zetterberg, even provided that he has no setbacks, isn't likely to be available until the second round.
Howard gave up two goals on 19 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday. The loss and Columbus' win last night guarantees the Wings will play Boston in the first-round of the playoffs. He will start in the season finale this afternoon in St. Louis. Howie was pulled after allowing three goals on 25 shots in the first 30 minutes in their first meeting--but that will not be the Blues team he faces tonight.
The Red WIngs have recalled Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids (AHL).
It turns out that Jordan Coreau was only recalled for the Red WIngs morning skate, but it will be Mrazek who will backup Jimmy Howard tonight vs. the Hurricanes. Mrazek is 1-4-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .916 SV% with the Red Wings this season. He has been spectacular with the Griffins, going 22-8-1 with a 2.07 GAA and .925 SV% in 31 games.
The Red Wings recalled Jordan Coreau from Grand Rapids (AHL).
Coreau has been recalled to potentially serve as Jimmy Howard's backup on Friday. As has been the case on many occasions this season, Jonas Gustavsson is dealing with a minor injury and may not back up tonight. Coreau has gone 0-4-0 with a 4.39 GAA and .873 SV% with Grand Rapids this season.
Zetterberg (back) skated a little a bit by himself this week, the first time he's been on the ice since the Olympic opener for Sweden on February 12.
Zetterberg had back surgery on February 21. While skating is a positive sign in Zetty's return to the ice, the Red Wings are still unsure when he will be back. At the time of surgery, the original timetable was eight weeks, which would see him return around game 4 of the first-round. They will not be able to pinpoint a date until Zetterberg is able to push himself in full team practices.
Howard turned aside 25 of 27 shots in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Sabres. He has won each of his last four starts while holding the opposition to two goals in each contest and posting a .929 SV%. Howie has brought his game to another level in the final month of the season and appears ready to try and carry the Red Wings into the post-season, much like he did last season. They have clinched a playoff spot, now games are about who they will face--Boston or Pittsburgh? Pick your poison.
Gustavsson allowed five goals on 26 shots in a loss to the Canadiens on Saturday. The win snapped a three-game winning streak for The Monster. The Wings need one point to clinch a playoff spot, but it won't come easy tonight in Pittsburgh.
Howard stopped 21 of 23 shots in a win over the Sabres of Friday. Howie has now won three in a row with a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%. Tonight, he is a must-start as he goes up against the Sabres again. Detroit's magic number is 3, so a win tonight all but assures the playoffs for the 23rd straight season.