The Detroit Red Wings are back home after suffering a severe case of sunburn; losing both games in Florida to their Atlantic Division rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.
It was a change in the story line of Detroit’s recent road play that saw them go 7-1 away from Joe Louis Arena in the month of January. But one story line still stuck in its current depressing state is the slumping Jimmy Howard, who hasn’t won a game since December 3rd.
Howard’s record stands at a gloomy 7-8-4 after dropping his past eight starts (three in extra time). Things didn’t look any better Thursday night at BB&T Center in Sunrise after he allowed three goals in the first period alone en route to a 6-3 defeat. It’s a stark contrast to goaltender Petr Mrazek, whom many view as Detroit’s most valuable player this season.
Howard doesn’t believe his issue is confidence, telling the Detroit Free Press that “I don’t think it’s confidence at all. I’ve got all the confidence in my ability. It’s just, I think, it would be nice to get a little bit of puck luck.”
Howard’s “puck luck” needs to improve in a hurry. While Mrazek has been solid all season and is almost certainly the unofficial number one goaltender in Hockeytown, the importance of having a solid 1-2 punch in net can’t be overstated. Should Mrazek fall to injury, Detroit will look to their embattled former starter to once again take the reins.
But if his struggles continue, don’t be surprised to see him in a new uniform sooner or later.