DETROIT -- Since shutting out the Colorado Avalanche in the second game of the season, Detroit Red Wings backup goalie Ty Conklin has hit a rough patch in the previous two games.
The Red Wings have dropped two in a row and Conklin started both, allowing 10 goals against on 56 shots to drive his goals-against average up to 3.36 with a paltry .882 save percentage. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he's not pleased with Conklin's recent play, but also knows the veteran has what it takes to turn it around -- as evidenced by this being his ninth season in the League.
"I thought he was outstanding in (his first game) and since then I don’t think he's been near as good," Babcock said on Friday morning. "Conks would be the first guy to tell you that. He's been in the League a long time and the reason he's been in the League is he scratches and he claws and he battles. When things have gone bad for him, he's taken a deep breath and gotten back (to work). All of us at times during the year that happens to us, but you've got to respond."
Jimmy Howard, the Wings' starter, didn't play in either of the last two games and his wife gave birth to their first child last Sunday -- which caused him to miss the trip to Columbus entirely. Howard will be back in net on Friday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks but Babcock didn't say which goalie would get the nod for Saturday's road game against the Minnesota Wild.
It could be Howard, though, considering the recent time off and his hot start (4-0-0, 1.72 GAA, .933 save percentage) prior to it.