Jimmy Howard, the 27-year-old starting netminder for the Red Wings, has done everything and more for his hockey club this season. In fact, Howard's strong play has had the Red Wings moving up the Western Conference standings on a regular basis over the last few weeks.
On the season, Howard is 15-6-1 with a 1.88 goals against average, a .929 save percentage, and three shutouts. His statistics have him in the top five in many of the NHL's goaltending categories including goals against (2nd), shutouts (2nd), and wins (1st).
With Howard playing the way he is, the Red Wings have looked like a near-unstoppable hockey club. His consistency has been a huge plus for the Wings this season, as he is arguably playing the best hockey of his young career. He is playing so well that pundits are including in the early-season Vezina Trophy discussions.
In the last eight games, Howard has won seven times and boasts a .932 save percentage. It is numbers like those that give his hockey club a chance to win hockey games any night they play.
Last year, Howard stumbled a bit after a successful rookie campaign. His record was great (37-17-5), but his other numbers were not (2.79 GAA, .908 SV%). Howard has turned things around this year and is giving the Wings rock-solid goaltending between the pipes.
Right now, it looks like Howard is ready to do something special for the Wings. Howard never gives up on a play, is in position for second and third shots and knows how to control the game with his exceptional confidence. That has given Detroit confidence to make him a work horse, as proven by Howard starting 17 straight games earlier this season.
With Howard well on top of his game, the rest of the league better watch out for the Red Wings.Photo credit: Getty Images