Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard will not play tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena with what is being called a “lower-body injury”.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) January 6, 2018
The Red Wings don’t believe the injury is of serious nature, and will benefit from having five days off following Sunday’s game against their divisional rivals. Petr Mrazek will get the start in net and will likely be backed up by Jared Coreau, who is the likely candidate to be called up from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Howard was enjoying a particularly strong stretch of play, with a .952 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against-average in his past six games. The Red Wings have won four straight games and five straight at home.
Howard made 38 saves against the Florida Panthers Friday night, and was the primary reason Detroit earned the two points.
“You sort of get into a rhythm, as the games roll along, the puck just seems to get bigger and you see the play a lot easier,” Howard said. “Everything slows down and you’re able to read it.”
Head coach Jeff Blashill compared his goaltender’s play to those of some of the NHL’s top teams, going so far as to call it “elite”.
“You look around the league and I don’t know how many teams win without elite goaltending,” Blashill said. “We’re going to play at team on Sunday (Tampa Bay) that night in and night out gets elite goaltending (from Andrei Vasilevskiy) and I think that’s what Jimmy has been giving us. And now you’re in every game and got to make a play to win and we made some plays late.”
In addition to Howard, forwards Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg didn’t practice for the Red Wings, though they are both expected to be in the lineup Sunday.