The Detroit Red Wings wrapped up the week of January 11-18, after having amassed four consecutive victories following the groin injury to starting goaltender Jimmy Howard. With 61 points, Detroit is now one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Atlantic Division lead.
Howard suffered a minor groin tear in the first few minutes of Detroit’s 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, on January 10, which immediately elevated Petr Mrazek to the starting role. Many teams in hockey would see a drop in the standings after their starting goaltender was felled by injury. However, Mrazek took the opportunity, and right away he made the most of it.
Detroit would defeat the Buffalo Sabres on the backs of young stars Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, who scored their 16th and 17th goals of the season, respectively. Mrazek made 25 saves in the win. But Mrazek will likely remember meeting fellow Czech, and boyhood idol, Dominik Hasek more than the win. Hasek, who won the Stanley Cup twice with Detroit, had his number 39 retired in honor of his time with the Sabres.
Detroit would then face their former Central Division foes, the St. Louis Blues. With a high powered offense and solid blue line, the Blues are one of the top teams in the Western Conference, and proved to be a tough test for Detroit. Despite giving up the tying goal in the final minute of play, Detroit took down the Blues in overtime by a score of 3-2; thanks to a goal from Pavel Datsyuk.
Things wouldn’t get any easier for the Red Wings as the NHL leading Nashville Predators, riding a five game winning streak, came to Joe Louis Arena in search of a sixth straight. The Red Wings clearly had other plans. A goal by Nyquist in the first minute of play, along with two goals from Tatar, and 34 saves from Mrazek propelled the Red Wings to a 5-2 victory, their third straight.
Detroit wrapped up the week by defeating the Sabres by a score of 6-4. A horrid first period saw the Red Wings trail 3-0 to the Sabres, who are losers of 10 straight games. The Red Wings would find their game, however. Henrik Zetterberg‘s sixth career hat trick powered Detroit’s comeback win. It was also the first career win for Thomas McCollum, who replaced Mrazek in the first period.