Howard Struggling in Playoffs

Following watching the game winning goal in Game 1 against Phoenix, the thought came to mind that the goalie who had played in nearly 70 games this season, was feeling the playoff pressure. Sure the ice in Phoenix is not considered ideal by many standards, but it needs to be said that he may not be the goalie to lead them to a deep playoff run. His nearly 4.00 GAA and a save percentage towards the bottom of the league, suggests that Red Wings fans may be witnessing an early playoff exit.

Howard had a fantastic regular season. There have been calls for him to win the Hart (MVP) Trophy for his 2.26 GAA and incredible .924 save percentage. Unlike many previous goalies in recent Red Wings history, he has had to face more shots and more pressure just to make the playoffs.

It is this same pressure that doomed previous Red Wings goalies when it mattered most. Mike Vernon, Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek are well revered for their efforts in lifting the Cup for the Red Wings. Place your name in the same boat as Manny Legace, Ken Wregget, Curtis Joseph and Bill Ranford, and you’ll forever be remembered as never having taken that next step. Lions QB and Red Wings goalie are the toughest positions in this town, and potentially some of the most pressure-packed sports positions as well.

So, when should Mike Babcock start thinking about pulling the plug on Howard? With the team now trailing 2-1, and having lost home ice advantage back to the Coyotes, they are at the crossroad where they either have to continue with Howard for the rest of the series or immediately make the switch. With Osgood looking shaky in spot starts and unable to get a rhythm going, it looks like Wings fans will have to hold on to the Howard bandwagon to see how far it goes.