Over the Red Wings past 10 games they are 2-3-5, but have been lucky to receive the five “loser” points. Over that time frame, Jimmy Howard has managed a record of 0-3-4, while Jonas Gustavsson has a record of 2-0-1.
Despite the fact that Jimmy Howard is the more complete goaltender, it has been Jonas Gustavsson who has come up big for the Red Wings in the most opportune times.
The Monster was not supposed to start the home game against the Carolina Hurricanes, but Howard was benched due to the flu. Even though Gustavsson was thrown into the game at the last moment he played well and helped the Red Wings break their 7 game losing streak and 8 game home losing streak in one game.
After the Red Wings lost to the Ottawa Senators on November 23rd, Mike Babcock once again turned to The Monster in their next game.
Once again, it was Gustavsson who helped lead the Red Wings to another victory and make sure that the Wings did not end up on another losing streak.
Even though Jimmy Howard is the better goaltender, it has been Jonas Gustavsson that the team seems more comfortable playing in front of and for that reason the Red Wings should ride Gustavsson for at least a few games.
When Howard was hurt earlier this season, Gustavsson stepped up and won three straight games for the Red Wings and ended up being named the NHL’s first star of the week.
Since Gustavsson has already proved himself earlier in the season and the Red Wings seem more comfortable playing with him in net, then I believe it might be time to roll with Gustavsson for the time being.
Once the Red Wings have a few more wins under their belt or Gustavsson messes up in spectacular fashion, they should continue to start The Monster before turning back to their undisputed number one goalie, Jimmy Howard.