Wings' Howard sees starts going to hot goalie

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Red Wings goalie Jimmy has a 2.82 goals against average and a .911 save percentage through 39 games this season.

Detroit — Jimmy Howard said he expects the winning goalie to start consecutive games for the Red Wings in the coming days, and he thought his start Tuesday against the Bruins went well, despite the 3-2 loss.

“I felt fine,” Howard said. “You know, just a couple of breaks and they ended up back in the net.”

After a slow start by the Wings, they were down about two-to-one in shots for the first 40 minutes before finding pace and possessing the puck more in the third period. As has often been the case this season, the team asked the goalie to hold them in the game, while they searched for offense.

Howard said that after his play declined a bit and Petr Mrazek began starting more games, he did not seek to change much.

“Basically, we actually did a little less,” Howard said. “We’re doing a little less in the net.

“I’ve backed up a little bit instead of coming too far out, and being able to read the shots a little better.”

More: Young Wings still learning to become 'every day players'

Howard said it is a matter of waiting and staying prepared. But the victories seem to be dictating who is in net.

“Just wait until it’s your turn and try to go out and win games," he said.

In 39 games, Howard has a 2.82 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

Mrazek has a 2.75 goal against average and a .914 save percentage in 19 games played.

Booth relishes NHL return

David Booth played a lot of important hockey with Jim Slater at Michigan State from 2002-05, and Slater, now playing in Europe and for the USA in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, asked a reporter to say hello to Booth recently.

“Please tell him I am following him this year,” Slater said of Booth’s later career effort to re-enter the NHL.

“I think what he’s doing and what he’s accomplished is just great.”

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Booth had considered taking up the Wings on their tryout offer in training camp as a chance to play in the NHL after a couple of seasons in the KHL, but also as a potential tune-up for the Olympics.

Showing good pace and some forechecking on his shifts, Booth has four goals and an assist in 19 games played this season.

“No place I’d rather be than right here,” Booth said.

Booth said he is so involved with the Wings’ season he had not given Pyeongchang a second thought.

“I haven’t even thought it would be cool to be there,” Booth said, pulling his skates off after practice. “Every day you come in here, it’s a treat.”

Blashill’s Olympic ties

Wings coach Jeff Blashill coached the USA in the World Junior Championships in Europe last year and Chris Chelios, a developmental coach for the Wings, is in South Korea at the Olympics. Chelios will assist Blashill’s former Wings assistant, Tony Granato, who is head coach of Team USA.

“I talked to him, I talked to Tony Granato a little bit, and I talked to Ron Rolston, who I have a really good relationship with, and is on the staff as well,” Blashill said. “I just wished them good luck.

“It’s going to be an interesting tournament. It’s going to be different from any Olympics we’ve seen in a long time.

“Even prior to the NHL guys getting involved, there were some programs in place. This is totally different.”

Red Wings at Islanders

Faceoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Notes: The Wings road record of 10-12-1 is fifth worst in the NHL and they have given up six more goals than they have scored (66-60) away from Little Caesars Arena. But at 11-11-7 and seventh worst in the league, they are not much better at home, where the goal differential is a woeful minus-12 (88-76).