DETROIT -- The irony is that Jimmy Howard was not supposed to be in goal for the Red Wings Wednesday night.
Jonathan Bernier was the first netminder off the ice after the team's optional morning skate.
But when warmups started, it was Howard who led the Wings onto the ice.
Although Bernier did come out for warmups, he was not on the bench when the game started.
At 1:04, Howard made the initial save on Travis Dermott's shot but the rebound went off of Frans Nielsen's skate and into the net for a 1-0 Toronto lead and an indication of things to come.
Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie, who scored Toronto's second goal at 2:24 of the first, fired a shot and Howard appeared to buckle when it happened.
Seconds later, John Tavares scored at 9:48 and Howard left the ice in visible pain after the goal.
"He's in a tough spot there because you can't really stay down in case the refs don't blow the whistle, so he tried to kind of gut through the rest," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I knew he was hurt though, I knew we were in trouble there."
It took about seven minutes before Bernier emerged from the dressing room.
The team announced that Howard had suffered a lower-body injury, meaning Bernier would have to gut out the rest of the game or the Wings would have to turn to their emergency goalie, Josh Block.
"I don't have a further update on Jimmy, except he obviously couldn't finish the game," Blashill said. "I don't anticipate him being able to participate on Friday. Past that, I don't know. We'll be calling a goalie up after the Griffins game tonight. Hopefully we'll have the goalie we'll call up, (Calvin) Pickard, and Bernier, I got to check on Bernie's health."