Any NHL team that hopes to be competitive in the league obviously needs a capable backup goalie. For the Detroit Red Wings, what do you do when your backup goalie might be better than your first-stringer?
That continues to be a unique question for Red Wings, who are obviously committed to Jimmy Howard as No. 1. However, Jonas Gustavsson continues to shine with Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. He was the recipient of a rare Red Wings offensive outburst of six goals. He also stopped 16 of 17 shots. His SV% of .927 and GAA of 2.17 are nothing to take lightly. He continues to provide steady goaltending for the Red Wings.
Howard is 5-7-6 with a .908 SV% and 2.72 GAA, but stats don’t always tell the full story. Howard has had some hard luck in several of his losses. He had not demonstrated himself to be that great of a shootout goalie. He’s been in the net almost three times as much as Gustavsson, and is probably more suited for a role of full-time goaltender.
There’s no guarantee that Gustavsson’s stats would stay the same or improve if his work load increases, but it’s something the Wings will have to take a look at as the season progresses. They need a lot of wins to put themselves in a good playoff position. Gustavsson is looking awfully good whenever he’s in the game. Eventually, the Wings will have a tough decision to make.