Monster of a surprise: Red Wings start Gustavsson over Howard

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While discussing Henrik Zetterberg’s return to the Detroit Red Wings fold, PHT noted that there was always a chance for a late swerve. That happened, but it wasn’t related to Zetterberg: apparently Jonas Gustavsson will start instead of Jimmy Howard in Game 4.

(Zetterberg has been confirmed.)

As it turns out, this isn’t a performance-related decision (or at least not a wholly performance-based decision).

This is the latest interesting development in an up-and-down season for “The Monster.” Interestingly enough, this represents his first-ever playoff start in the NHL.

Gustavsson, 29, has dealt with a mixture of good luck (a sparkling 16-5-4 record despite a mediocre .907 save percentage) and bad luck (his unfortunately typical slate of injuries). He has added incentive to play well tonight because he’s fighting for a new contract … whether that be in the NHL or overseas.

One interesting wrinkle is that Milan Lucic noted that the big Swedish goalie looked better than he ever had against Boston earlier this season. If that carries over, Zetterberg won’t be the only key Swede back in the Red Wings lineup on Thursday.