After consecutive losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames, the Detroit Red Wings needed a big win on Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues. Starting goaltender Jimmy Howard also needed a night off, and with Jonas Gustavsson injured, the team turned to 20-year-old rookie Petr Mrazek in net. The youngster delivered in a big way, stopping 26 shots as the Wings rolled to a 5-1 win.
Mrazek’s amazing rookie season continues to get better wherever he goes. He started the season with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, where he was 2-1 with a 2.02 goals against average before being called up to the AHL. He won his first six AHL starts for the Grand Rapids Griffins, on his way to a 16-7-1 record before the Red Wings had him make his NHL debut. He now has an NHL win to add to his season stats, and with Gustavsson being officially placed on IR he may be in Detroit for a couple of weeks. Mrazek was a fifth round choice of the Red Wings in 2010, and was a star in the OHL for the Ottawa 67’s.
Dan Cleary, Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton, Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Wings, while the Blues converted on the power play on a shot by Alex Pietrangelo that Mrazek had no chance to stop. Scoring from the third and fourth lines was a good step for Detroit, who to this point had mostly relied on star Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings play back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, and there is a decent chance Mrazek might now see more NHL action.