Jimmy Howard's work load in the second half was probably going to increase anyway; but now it's pretty much a definite.
Howard's goaltending partner in Detroit, Chris Osgood, is headed to the operating table Tuesday to have sports hernia surgery that is expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks.
Osgood was examined Monday in Philadelphia by Dr. William Mayer, who determined the veteran with 401 career victories will have to go under the knife. Osgood has had a nagging groin injury for the better part of the season, but not until Saturday did the pain get so severe that he had to take himself out of the lineup.
"If the doctor sees a significant tear, it'll be closer to eight weeks," Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press. "If not, it'll be closer to six weeks."
Joey MacDonald will serve as Howard's backup with Osgood recovering. MacDonald replaced Howard just 14:15 into the first period Monday in Colorado after the Wings' No. 1 gave up four goals on 10 shots.
"Joey has played in the NHL before," Holland told the Free Press of MacDonald, who played 49 games for the Islanders in 2008-09. "Jimmy played a lot of games for us last year. Even if Osgood was healthy, we'd be running Jimmy quite a bit. The games where Osgood would have played, Joey will play. We've had him in the organization before. He's got a lot of pro experience."
Osgood won his last two starts. He is 5-3-2 in 11 appearances this season with a 2.77 goals-against average and .903 save percentage.
"He was supposed to play Saturday (in Vancouver) but he just couldn't go anymore," Holland said according to the Detroit News.
The Red Wings training room has basically turned into an infirmary during the past month. Pavel Datsyuk (broken hand), Mike Modano (lacerated wrist), Brad Stuart (broken jaw) and Danny Cleary (broken ankle) all won't be back until at least February.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl