Jeff Riger: It’s In Howard’s Hands Now!
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Whether it’s fair or not, the reputation of Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is on the line when Detroit takes on San Jose in the Western Conference semi-finals that starts on Friday night. We all know that Hockeytown is hard on their goalies so even if Howard is good in the series, and the Wings lose, he will be blamed and he knows it.
“When isn’t it a defining moment for me” Howard said, “whenever I turn around it’s a defining moment, so I’m going to go out there and play the same way as I have played and try to play the same way that I played in the Phoenix series.” Now if Howard is able to accomplish playing as well as he did against the Coyotes, then Detroit and Howard will be in great shape. In the Wings first round sweep of Phoenix, Howard allowed just 10 goals and finished with a .915 save percentage. With numbers like that and the team’s ability to score goals, the Wings should prevail. Of those 10 goals, 2 went off Detroit players’ skates and 6 came on the power play which means Howard allowed 2 non-fluky or so called “soft goals” in the series. Of course, the Sharks are much better than the Coyotes. They ended Detroit’s season in 5 games last year, but fell short of the Cup Finals, which leads one to believe the Sharks are thinking “just do the same as last year”! Ironically enough, Howard is thinking “just do the same” as well. Just not as in last year, instead, as in last series.
Watch the Jimmy Howard video below for the goalies feeling about the Sharks, his expectations and on being a net minder in Detroit