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With Howard struggling, will Babcock turn to Mrazek?


Dave Reginek

Jimmy Howard has made 16 appearances for the Red Wings since returning from a groin injury in mid-February.

The numbers have not been pretty.

A save percentage of just .898. A total of 44 goals surrendered. Five times he’s allowed four goals or more.

Howard’s latest rough outing, Tuesday at home to lowly Arizona, saw the Coyotes score five times on just 22 shots in a 5-4 overtime defeat.

“We gave up too many goals any way you look at it,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said, per the Detroit News. “The puck can’t go in your net five times and you expect to win in the NHL. Not good enough.”

The winning goal was not Howard’s finest moment...

...and he knows he has to be better.

“Personally, I hold myself to high standards and I’ve got to get back to where I was playing before,” he said recently, per MLive. “I’ve had spurts here coming back from the injury but I’ve got to find that consistency again.”

Suffice to say, with the playoffs less than a month away, Howard’s issues are lingering at a worrying time. His save percentage, which has dropped to .912 on the season, ranks 31st out of 43 regular netminders in the NHL, and many have started to wonder if Babcock should be turning more to backup Petr Mrazek.

The Wings host the Sharks tomorrow. No Detroit starter has been announced.