Goalie nods: Howard gets consecutive starts for first time this season

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Mired in a five-game losing skid, the Red Wings will try something new on Tuesday night, giving Jimmy Howard his second straight start — for the first time this season.

Howard has primarily served as Petr Mrazek‘s backup, starting just four times through 13 games. But with Mrazek struggling — .904 save percentage, 3.18 GAA — Howard got an opportunity in Sunday’s game against Edmonton and did very well, making 26 saves on 28 shots in a narrow 2-1 loss.

That pushed Howard’s save percentage to a sparkling .965 on the year, and pushed head coach Jeff Blashill to start Howard against the Flyers.

Detroit hopes he’ll continue playing well.

Much of the Red Wings’ success this year has been predicated on good goaltending — this is a club that struggles to generate shots on goal, has just nine goals in the last five games and is without one of its top scorers in Thomas Vanek, who was placed on long-term injured reserve yesterday.

For the Flyers, Steve Mason‘s in net.

Elsewhere…

Cam Ward gets the nod for the ‘Canes, who are in New Jersey tonight. The Devils are going with Cory Schneider after Keith Kinkaid played on Sunday.

Cam Talbot, who’s become an absolute workhorse for Edmonton, gets the start in Pittsburgh. Matt Murray counters for the Penguins. He’s coming off a 32-save shutout in San Jose over the weekend.

— Battle of the backups at MSG as Jacob Markstrom and the Canucks take on Antti Raanta and the Rangers.

Braden Holtby is in goal for the Caps tonight, as they host the Sharks. No word yet on a San Jose starter.

Frederik Andersen, who’s rebounded nicely from a poor start, is in goal for Toronto. Looks like the visiting Kings will go with Peter Budaj, who posted a 24-save shutout over Calgary on Saturday.

— Montreal will start Carey Price in tonight’s rivalry game against the Bruins. Boston has yet to name a starter, but has been playing Tuukka Rask a ton lately.

Craig Anderson versus Pekka Rinne as the Sens take on the Preds in Nashville.

— In what has all the makings of a high-scoring affair, Dallas will start Kari Lehtonen in Winnipeg. Looks like the Jets are going with Connor Hellebuyck.

Calvin Pickard starts for the Avs tonight (and, potentially, for the foreseeable future) while Louis Domingue goes for the Coytes.