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For Jimmy Howard, the ‘ball’s in his court’

Jimmy Howard

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard acknowledges the crowd after his team defeated the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in overtime in an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Sunday, March 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Jimmy Howard will try and build on a solid performance Saturday in Minnesota when he gets the assignment tonight at home versus Carolina.

Howard stopped 22 of 24 Wild shots in the 3-2 Detroit victory, his first quality start in a couple of weeks.

“He won last time out,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, per MLive. “He’s our veteran guy. We gave him a time with [goaltending coach Jim Bedard] to try and freshen up and get his game set up.

“He went in and won a game in Minny. We didn’t want to go back-to-back because it didn’t work for us all year long when we tried it. So we went to [backup Petr Mrazek on Sunday versus Washington] and now Jimmy’s ... ball’s in his court right here.”

Clearly, the Wings would prefer if Howard is their starter come playoff time. He’s the one with the big contract and the postseason experience. He’s their guy.

First things first, of course -- the Wings have to clinch a playoff spot. They can do it for the 24th straight time tonight with a win over the Hurricanes combined with a regulation loss by Ottawa to Pittsburgh.

Related: After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’