Jonas Gustavsson isn’t a perfect NHL goaltender, but it would help the Detroit Red Wings if he could be as perfect as possible. Gustavsson lost his first game of the season and fell to 8-1-1 when the Wings sustained a 2-1 loss to the lowly Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
No goalie will win every game, obviously. But with the erratic offense the Red Wings are employing, it wouldn’t hurt if that was the case. In his last five games, Gustavsson has allowed a total of seven goals, a staggering statistic for any goalkeeper on any level. His GAA is 2.03, and the saves percentage is at .930. Against the Panthers, Gustavsson couldn’t get enough help from his teammates, and saving 35 of 37 shots wasn’t good enough.
To get the win, Gustavsson obviously needed to be perfect for a 2-0 lead. Ironically, this was a battle for the Red Wings against a struggling Florida team that was able to put up more shots than Gustavsson has faced in a long time. The Panthers haven’t had much success lately, but realized that simply by putting more shots on net, they had a chance to pull it out.
For the rest of the regular season, Gustavsson needs to play nearly perfect for the Red Wings to win. The good news is that he’s been playing just about like that almost all season so far. He’s likely to get more playing time from the Red Wings even though Jimmy Howard officially remains No. 1 goalie. If Gustavsson keeps playing close to perfect when he’s in the net, it will be tough to keep him off the ice.