As we begin to wind down on the regular season and head into the home stretch towards the playoffs, a playoff spot is no guarantee for the Detroit Red Wings. They currently sit in eighth in the Western Conference, just two points away from falling out of contention.
They’ve had their issues with consistency this year, but have had a few solid stretches that have helped their aging team remain in position for a spot in the postseason. With so many teams nipping at their heels, though, it’s going to be tough to hang onto it in these final couple of weeks.
Something that would go a long way towards helping them secure a spot in the postseason, rather than watching the playoffs from their couches for the first time in ages, would be a strong final stretch of starts from goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Howard is a free agent this summer and stands to receive a nice contract, whether it be in Detroit or another city. He can lock down a pretty lucrative deal if he can help the Wings to secure a berth, though. Like the Wings team overall, Howard hasn’t been terrible consistent this year, but has been solid nonetheless.
On the year, Howard has a .917 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average. Each are solid figures, no doubt. He’s actually been very good in his last four starts since the calendar turned to April, allowing just eight goals on his last 121 shots faced.
That’s the version of Jimmy Howard that the Red Wings are going to need in this final stretch. Their offense ranks in the bottom half of the league, so their goaltending and blue line are going to need to step up if they hope to avoid missing out on the postseason party.
That starts with Jimmy Howard.