Goalie nods: It’s crunch time for the Wings and they’re going with Jimmy Howard (again)

Associated Press

The Detroit Red Wings are in must-win mode if they want to make the playoffs and it seems as though they’ve decided that Jimmy Howard gives them the best chance to get there.

For the second time in two nights, the Wings will have Howard between the pipes, not Petr Mrazek.

“I’ve got lots of belief in his character,” coach Jeff Blashill said of Howard, per MLive.com. “I’ve got lots of belief in the work that he put in. When they went through it where he was struggling, or the team was struggling in front of him, he went to work and made sure that he earned confidence by putting the work in.

“I think earned confidence comes from knowing you’ve done the work to succeed and knowing you have the skill set to succeed and nobody’s ever wavered on the skill set side, and he put the work in to make sure he was ready when he got opportunities.”

Blashill might believe in Howard’s ability, but Mrazek’s given him no choice. The 24-year-old has fallen apart down the stretch. He has just one win in his last six appearances. He was rocked for four goals on 27 shots in his last start against Pittsburgh last Saturday.

Detroit’s opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs, will turn to Garret Sparks.


–Look for Kari Lehtonen to get the start against the Kings. Los Angeles will likely answer with Jonathan Quick.

Joonas Korpisalo will be between the pipes for the Blue Jackets. Eddie Lack gets the call for the Hurricanes.

Chad Johnson is expected to get the start for Buffalo. The Rangers will probably turn to Henrik Lundqvist, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Mike Condon starts for the Canadiens. Roberto Luongo will be in goal for the Panthers.

Cory Schneider‘s making his first start since Mar. 4 for the Devils. He’ll go up against Lightning starter Ben Bishop.

James Reimer will be in the San Jose’s crease. The Preds will also turn to their backup Carter Hutton.

–Expect Joni Ortio to get the start for the Flames. The Oilers will counter with Cam Talbot in the Battle of the Alberta.

Philipp Grubauer may start for the Capitals. The Coyotes have confirmed that Mike Smith will be in goal.