In a move that’s sure to raise eyebrows, Jonas Gustavsson has been named Detroit’s starter for Saturday’s elimination game against Boston.
Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock confirmed the move on Friday, one day after “The Monster” was the surprise starter in Game 4’s 3-2 OT loss because Jimmy Howard fell ill.
One almost wants to put “ill” in quotation marks (actually, I just did it) because Babcock said he’s going on the assumption Howard will serve as Gustavsson’s backup on Saturday, which begs the question — is Howard too sick to start, yet healthy enough to back up? And why announce a starter today, rather than give Howard the next 24 hours to rest and possibly recuperate?
As for Gustavsson — he played very well on Thursday, especially given the circumstances. Despite seeing his first action in over two weeks, he stopped 37 of 40 Bruins shots for a .925 save percentage, and was sharp in OT as the Wings were out-shot 12-3 before Jarome Iginla scored the game winner at the 13:32 mark.
Update: Further to the above, here’s Howard getting kneed in the head by Carl Soderberg during Game 3, and his reaction to the contact…