Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Red Wings scuffling into playoffs

The Detroit Red Wings will make the playoffs, probably. With nine games left and a five point lead over both Boston and Ottawa, the Red Wings should feel good about their chances, but nothing is certain.  The Wings have put themselves in a position where they can’t be as confident in their place in the standings as they should be after losing eight of their last 11 games.  Instead of gearing up for the playoffs and a run at the Cup, the Red Wings are simply still trying to make the postseason.

A huge problem for the Wings of late has been Jimmy Howard.  Howard had been a source of strength for much of the season, but he has struggled mightily of late, posting a .887 save percentage for the month of March. Howard was pulled in the first period of a 6-4 loss to the Sharks Thursday and afterwards Red Wings coach Mike Babcock expressed that the Wings may go in a different direction.

“We gave [Howard] an opportunity to bounce back; he didn’t do that. We’ll give Pete Mrazek an opportunity here. As a group of coaches and a group of players we just got to bunker in here (Friday) and have a good conversation, have a good practice and get ready to play. Like I said we’ll be back ready to go.”

The Red Wings need to find some consistency in goal and have a good stretch into the playoffs if they want to have any success when they get there.  Mrazek has been good in limited chances this season, maybe he will provide the boost that the Red Wings need, or at least give Howard a chance at a breather to get his game in order.

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