The Detroit Red Wings got off to a blistering start this season, but one player who needs to be better is starting goaltender Ville Husso.
Last season had been Husso’s first opportunity to be ‘the guy’ in goal for an organization, the clear number one option per se. Before Detroit traded for his services, he split time in St. Louis with Jordan Binnington. With Binnington locked up to a long-term lucrative deal and Husso a pending restricted free agent, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, as he often does, pounced on an opportunity to upgrade a position.
Last year, particularly early on, Husso embraced the role of a top goaltender and performed like one; it’s almost as if he knew he needed to shoulder the load with Detroit not having a reliable option to relieve him. As the year went on, Husso began to fatigue, and it showed in his play. This past summer, Detroit’s top goaltender made a conscious effort to improve his overall conditioning this off-season. Husso understood that he began to weaken as the year went on last season and wanted to ensure he entered year two with the Detroit Red Wings in better shape. For the first time in his young career, he remained in North America to train during the off-season. Last season, Husso backstopped the Detroit Red Wings to a 26-22-7 record. He posted a .896 save percentage, paired with a 3.11 goals-against average. In his final year in St. Louis, he posted a .919 save percentage and a 2.56 goals-against average.
The Detroit Red Wings need Ville Husso to dial in his game.
So far this season, Husso is 3-1-1 and has maintained a .893 save percentage to go along with a 3.38 goals-against average through five starts. While those numbers rank near the bottom of the league among starters, and the Detroit Red Wings need them to improve, head coach Derek Lalonde remains optimistic.
"His numbers aren’t great,” Lalonde said. “But you look at the body of work and his ability to give us opportunities to win, he has been really good, excellent in his previous two starts. He’s probably a big reason we won. Even in those other games he’s taken points, he’s been good.“He probably reflected our team (Tuesday in a 5-4 overtime loss to Seattle), where he was good, not great, and probably got what we deserved and that was one point instead of the two.”"
Husso also isn’t ready to panic and mentioned that he needs to be a bit more sharp as the Detroit Red Wings head to Boston.
"“It’s just a couple of bad reads, those types of goals,” Husso said. “It’s nothing crazy. I just have to be more sharp, that’s the bottom line. We had a real good practice today and getting ready for (Saturday).”"
The Detroit Red Wings will turn to Husso in Boston. The Bruins haven’t skipped a beat this season without the services of Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci, who both retired following last season. The Bruins have turned to Pavel Zacha and 19-year-old rookie Matthew Poitras to center the top two lines.
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Alex Lyon will dress for the first time this season to back Husso on Saturday evening. On Friday, Lalonde mentioned that he needs to get Lyon a start very soon; dressing him to backup will help get him into the flow of things before making a start. James Reimer has made three starts this year and has looked very good in each. He’s posted a stellar 1.68 goals-against average and an outstanding .939 save percentage. With Reimer playing so well, it will allow Lalonde to use more of an equal split, which will help preserve Husso’s energy and allow him time to find his game. Husso also mentioned that having three goaltenders on the roster has helped him from a competition standpoint and says they three get along great.