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Detroit’s Stanley Cup hopes hang in the balance; Jimmy Howard leaves game with upper body injury

Jimmy Howard

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Detroit, Saturday, March 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)


Everyone in Detroit will be collectively holding their breath tonight as goalie Jimmy Howard left tonight’s 4-2 win over Toronto with an upper body injury.

Howard suffered the injury when Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul tumbled over him while scoring a goal that tied the game at 2-2 in the third. Howard went down and headed to the locker room while Joey MacDonald replaced him and held down the fort while Jiri Hudler and Todd Bertuzzi netted goals to give Detroit the win.

Detroit is in an awkward position if Howard is out for any amount of time. They had to turn to MacDonald in relief because Chris Osgood is still out with a groin injury. MacDonald has had some NHL experience with the Red Wings this year and in the past as well as with Toronto and the Islanders. Initial reports from those in Detroit are saying that the injury may not be as bad as initially thought. How that translates to how long he may be out remains to be seen.

Update: Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily News says that Howard’s status is day-to-day (aren’t we all?) and that Jordan Pearce will be called up from the AHL to back up MacDonald.