The Red Wings' 2-1 win over the Kings last night featured a good win by a young goalie (Jimmy Howard) and it got me thinking about Josh Harding (pictured here stopping a shot by Bill Thomas) and his career with the Aeros and now the Minnesota Wild.
I know there are many of you that hate the Red Wings, so I am sure you are filled with delight to look at the standings and see them out the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
Howard, the young goalie that has stolen the Red Wings' starting job away from two-time Stanley Cup winner Chris Osgood. He was unbelievable Thursday night and he single-handedly stole two points away from the L.A. Kings.
Jimmy Howard is 6-3-1 in his last ten games with a 1.89 GAA and a .943 save percentage.
Jimmy Howard was never particularly great for the Grand Rapids Griffins, and he was definitely below average against the Aeros in five all time games. As a Wings fan myself, I never really saw him taking over for the Red Wings like he has. He played four years in the minors while the Red Wings were always trying to use duct tape in goal to get them to a Stanley Cup.
It appears that his time in the minors was well spent, as he has kept the Red Wings in the playoff hunt, despite that team having up to eight regulars out of the lineup this season. I kind of compare him to Harding (four years in the minors, etc.), except Howard's organization and a series of unfortunate circumstance, isn't directly responsible for ruining his career.
To be fair, Harding (who was a very good AHL goalie) has not made the most of his opportunities for the Wild ... But I don't think he's been allowed much of a groove to prove himself. Harding is a better goalie than his numbers indicate ... but when you don't play, you can't get better. And now it's kind of funny (ironic) that they can't trade him for a bag of pucks, and they sure as heck can't risk sending him down to get some playing time.
Back to Howard. Again, his performances against the Aeros looked more like Chris Beckford-Tseu than Kari Lehtonen.
His lifetime GAA against Houston is 3.67, and his saves percentage is .866. He won two games (2-1-1 and one no decision) against the Aeros, but one of them (Jan. 6, 2006 at Toyota Center) he allowed five goals and only got the win when the Aeros played their worst third period in the history of the franchise. They allowed five goals, blowing a four-goal lead.
Now to a question for our readers. Which of the three Aeros goalies do you think will be the next to get a start in the NHL? Dubielewicz has the most experience. Brusty had some time with the Kings a few years ago, and Anton, despite his recent implosion and nine-game losing streak, is still No. 3 on the depth chart.