Red Wings anxious to host Winnipeg

RED WINGS: Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. He will get the start Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. (Detroit Free Press photo)

RED WINGS: Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. He will get the start Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. (Detroit Free Press photo)

Goaltender Jimmy Howard will get first start in five weeks

DETROIT — Justin Abdelkader sees the standings every day and, even as victories piled up for the Detroit Red Wings, they barely moved in the standings.

Us, Montreal and Tampa just kind of all stayed a few points around each other,” Abdelkader said today as the Wings prepared to host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night. “The season is starting to wind down. We’ve got to be prepared to execute against Winnipeg.”

Failure to do that Wednesday at Pittsburgh left the Wings with their second loss in 11 games. The Jets game can’t come soon enough, especially for Jimmy Howard, who will make his first start since hurting his groin five weeks ago.

I’m excited to get back out there and compete with the guys,” he said. “We’ve got to get on top of them, because they’re a fast, physical team that likes to get in on the forecheck.”

Petr Mrazek will back up, as the Wings continue to carry three healthy goaltenders. General manager Ken Holland said no decision would be made Friday, but Babcock did say it would be better for Mrazek to play at the AHL level than only occasionally play at the NHL level.

For now, the emphasis is on getting Howard back to the level that made him an All-Star.

He’s been real important for us,” Babcock said. “Especially at the start of the year, before we earned our confidence, I think Howie was our best player in that first 10 games. So it’s important for him to get up running and us to have him in the net and feel good about ourselves.”

Earlier in the week, the Jets and Buffalo Sabres engaged in a trade that, among other assets, brought 6-foot-8 defenseman Tyler Myers to Winnipeg. Myers, 25, had been on the Wings’ trade radar because he’s young, shoots right and provides offense. The Jets also added Drew Stafford, who’ll plug the hole left by Evander Kane, who had become the odd-man out even before opting for surgery.

Just to get Kane out of the dressing room was probably a good thing for them,” said Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey. “Myers is going to take a few weeks to get going, with a new system and everything. He’s going to make a few mistakes for sure, so hopefully we can capitalize on it.

avatar

Posted by Tribune News Services

Leave a Reply