Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) makes a save in the first period Sunday night against the Ducks in Anaheim, Calif. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Anaheim, Calif. — So, what will the next game look like for goalie Jimmy Howard?
Lately it’s been alternating between good and bad, most recently Saturday’s 44-save effort in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings that equaled his 44-save victory in Dallas at the start of this trip on Jan. 4.
But in between, there was that dud in Dallas, with Howard being pulled after two periods, that appeared to motivate him against the Kings.
“There’s a lot of pride, we all have pride out there,” Howard said of being pulled in San Jose. “When something like that happens, you just have to continue to go out there and prove yourself and have that determination.”
Howard was given Sunday night off to rest a hip flexor he aggravated against the Kings. Petr Mrazek started against the Ducks, and made 22 saves in the 1-0 loss.
There were several notable performances in the victory over the Kings.
Tomas Tatar, one day after the death of his father Jan in Slovakia, had a goal and assist, Riley Sheahan had a goal and assist in his first game since being recalled Friday.
But Howard was a major difference, keeping the Kings frustrated for the majority of the evening.
“Howie was outstanding, he gave us a chance to win,” forward Daniel Cleary said.
Added Red Wings coach Mike Babcock: “Without goaltending you just don’t work as hard, because you’re pulling the puck out of your net. They had quality chances and Howie made quality saves.”
But Howard now needs to establish the consistency which has so far eluded him this season.
“It’s not for a lack of trying or lack of effort, anything like that,” Howard said. “You just have to find a way to do it night in and night out.”