Backup goalie Petr Mrazek could see action this weekend, as the Red Wings have three games in four days. (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)
Calgary, Alberta — They both were looking forward to it, and somewhere during Friday’s game, they likely might have given each other a nod.
Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald, former teammates now in opposing goals — Howard for the Red Wings and MacDonald for the Flames.
“You have to have that relationship, have to have that chemistry, to bounce things off of each other,” Howard said. “It’s a team sport, but this position is very individualized (only the other goaltender understands how the other is feeling) and vice versa, and you bounce things off each other.”
MacDonald and Howard spent a couple seasons together in Grand Rapids before reuniting with the Red Wings.
“I have a lot of respect for Joey,” Howard said. “He’s a top-notch guy. We’ve had a lot of fun on and off the ice. I look forward to seeing him there at the other end.”
For MacDonald, he was looking forward to facing an organization he spent two terms with.
“Parts of nine seasons,” MacDonald said. “I know the guys real well, and when you play for that long, you don’t fall too far away.”
Mrazek called up
Goaltender Petr Mrazek was called up from Grand Rapids to back up Howard after Jonas Gustavsson was ruled out with a strained neck.
Gustavsson will be put on the short-term injured list (seven days), which means there’s a good chance Mrazek will start Saturday in Edmonton.
“It stiffened up (Wednesday in Vancouver), just locked, and I couldn’t move my head to the left,” Gustavsson said. “Usually it happens when you sleep but it happened at that point.”
Coach Mike Babcock said he will not use Howard tonight in Edmonton and would be confident using Mrazek, who played two games last season with the Red Wings and led Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup championship.
“That was great experience (playing in the NHL last year),” Mrazek said. “I’ll be ready when I get the chance. I’ll try to do my best and play hard.
Forward Darren Helm (groin), who has played in one regular-season and one playoff game since April 2012, is scheduled to play Saturday.
“It’s huge for him,” Red Wings forward Drew Miller said. “He’s been through a lot in the last 18 months or so.”
With Helm coming off the long-term injured list, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) will be placed on the list, retroactive to when he was hurt (Oct. 19 in Phoenix).
… Former Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler is leading the Flames in scoring.
“Huds is a good man,” Babcock said. “He grew up with us and became a good player and person.”
… Forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo were healthy scratches.