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Bernier hurt early in first period in Toronto

Pickard comes on in relief one day before Howard scheduled to return

by Arthur J. Regner and Dana Wakiji @ArthurJRegner and @Dwakiji /

TORONTO -- Just as one goaltender, Jimmy Howard, is about to return to the Red Wings after missing 10 games with a groin injury, another, Jonathan Bernier, gets hurt.

At 6:52 of the first period in Toronto, just as the Wings were heading on the penalty kill, Bernier had to exit the game.

Calvin Pickard, called up just to back up Bernier until Howard's return, had to take over the net.

The team announced that Bernier had a lower-body injury and was questionable to return.

"I found out after warmup that Bernie had a bit of a sore groin and he thought he could go and then he obviously couldn't go," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Blashill indicated that Bernier would not be available for Sunday's game even to back up expected starter Jimmy Howard so Pickard will remain with the team.

Bernier stopped all three shots he faced before leaving. Pickard stood tall during the penalty kill and throughout the remainder of the first, stopping all seven shots fired his way.

Ironically, it was during the game against the Maple Leafs in Detroit on Nov. 27 that Howard had to leave the game at 9:48 of the first period after injuring his groin.

Bernier was originally supposed to start that game but was ill that day and wasn't even on the bench when Howard went down.

But Bernier came into that game despite being ill and faced 40 shots.

Earlier in the week, the Wings had placed goalie Eric Comrie on waivers and Comrie's original team, the Winnipeg Jets, claimed him.

If Bernier is not quick to heal, Pickard could remain with the Wings for a while.

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