For the Red Wings to advance in these Stanley Cup playoffs, goalie Jimmy Howard must be better.
Especially now that rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser is out for the year with a broken thumb. Since his arrival late in the regular season, DeKeyser has stabilized the defense, and his loss will be difficult for the Wings to overcome, unless Howard elevates his game.
Leading 4-1 nearly midway through in the third period Thursday, it appeared the Red Wings were in complete control and about to even up their first-round playoff series with the Ducks at a game apiece.
Until Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf muscled his way from behind the Wings net and backhanded a shot that somehow eluded Howard. Once Getzlaf scored, the Wings looked timid and the Ducks re-energized.
As his young team wilted in front of him, Howard needed to morph into a stone wall. This was the kind of moment when playoff legends are born ... when your last line defense must make each and every save.
This was Howards tim...