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Sunrise, Fla. — Petr Mrazek is doing quite a job keeping things stable in net for the Red Wings while Jimmy Howard is injured.

Mrazek was credited with 37 saves Tuesday as the Red Wings defeated the Florida Panthers 5-4.

The Red Wings have won all six games since Howard suffered a slight groin tear, and Mrazek was started all of them.

He was pulled in favor of Tom McCollum in a victory over Buffalo, but Mrazek was won the five others, showing confidence and the ability to make big saves when needed.

"We've always had confidence in him," Henrik Zetterberg said. "We knew he's a goalie who just comes in and plays well and he's been doing that for us since Howie went down."

Mrazek didn't look particularly sharp in the first period Tuesday but got stronger as the game progressed, a characteristic that's been evident during the win streak.

"Pete was OK (early on) but then good in the end," coach Mike Babcock said. "Pete has a way about him. He wins games. Sometimes the goals he gives up, you wonder 'why did that go in' but he wins the game.

"And in the end, that's what matters, winning games."

Cleary in the lineup

This season hasn't been easy for Daniel Cleary.

The Red Wings forward played in only his 12th game Tuesday, playing just under eight minutes in the victory over Florida.

"No one wants to watch when they're healthy," Cleary said "But we have a good team here and you just have to do your part, and when you're called upon be ready and be professional about it."

Cleary, re-signed last summer to a one-year contract, was in the lineup against the Panthers, filling in for Tomas Jurco (back), who is not likely to return until Thursday.

Still, despite not playing regularly, Cleary has provided veteran guidance to a younger roster.

"I feel fine doing that," Cleary said. "I always talk to the younger players about things they can do, about being professional. These guys are good young guys, good pros, and that's good to see."

Babcock believes Cleary has done a fine job adjusting to his role.

"The Red Wing way is you do it every day and do it right and you need people to help you do those things," Babcock said. "It's important to have good veterans around."

Puck priority

After watching Tuesday's morning skate, Babcock believes the Red Wings, like the other NHL teams, will show some rust after the All-Star break.

"Taking care of the puck is going to be key because we don't seem to be quite as smooth as you'd like," Babcock said. "That's a priority when you first come back. You keep your shifts short, and try not to get caught in your own zone."

Still, having five days off late last week was a positive, too.

"We should be fresh and ready to go," Babcock said.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tkulfan

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