There’s been plenty of talk about Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard lately.
He lost his starting position to Petr Mrazek last season, re-gained it, and then lost it again. There were rumors that Detroit wanted to trade him, but nobody would take on his contract. The Red Wings had to start this season with two high-priced netminders on the roster.
After Mrazek started the first three games of the 2016-17 Season, the Red Wings entered Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers, and New York-native Howard was given the start. And did he ever make the most of it.
Howard dominated the Rangers Wednesday night, stopping 31 of 32 shots in Detroit’s 2-1 victory. Among his several highlight reel saves included stonewalling Jimmy Vesey, Rick Nash, and Michael Grabner on breakaways. He also made key saves during an extended 5-on-3 Rangers power play. The Red Wings were outshot by a final margin of 33-18, but were able to beat Henrik Lundqvist twice. Thomas Vanek recorded his third goal of the season, scoring on a deflection off a Frans Nielsen shot. And Drew Miller potted his first of the season, the go-ahead and eventual game-winner for Detroit.
But it was Howard stealing the spotlight on Broadway, earning first star honors on the night.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 20, 2016
“I think it just comes from hard work paying off in practice,” Howard told NBC’s Pierre McGuire after the game. “We’ve been working on it a lot more as of late this season and at the end of last season. I think that hard work pays off in the games.”
While Petr Mrazek remains Detroit’s starting goalie, Howard certainly earned additional playing time, and he’ll be looking to show how much he doesn’t want to be sitting on the bench.
A friendly competition in net between two hard-working goalies for the starting position is something that all teams want. The Red Wings will certainly be glad to have that “problem” if Howard’s performance Wednesday night is any indicator of things to come.