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Howard hurt in Wings' loss to Preds

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Goalie - DET
RECORD: 6-5-2

GAA: 3.08 | SVP: 0.897
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Just what the Red Wings didn’t need. … Another key player injured.

With 8:38 left in the first period at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night, starting goalie Jimmy Howard skated over to the Red Wings’ team bench and walked down the runway to the team’s dressing room. He did not return to the game.

Preliminary information on Howard’s injury, which team officials called “an upper body injury”, is sketchy. Following the Wings’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Predators, coach Mike Babcock said that Howard will have tests on his undisclosed injury on Wednesday.

“He got hit in practice I guess, and I didn’t know about that,” Babcock said. “He wasn’t seeing good, or something like that. I was watching the game and someone told me. We made the switch and tried to buy some time for Gus to get ready and put him in.”

Howard allowed two goals on seven shots to the Predators before making way to backup Jonas Gustavsson, who was making his first relief stint since the season opener in St. Louis.

Gustavsson, who had been out of the lineup for nearly a month with a sore groin, surrendered two goals, including Shea Weber’s game-winner in overtime.

“When you get into a game like that you just find a way to be mentally ready,” said Gustavsson, who made 16 saves. “You’ve just got to be there and support the guys when you’re not playing, and then when something happens try to be ready. That’s how I approached this game. It wasn’t tough for me, because it wasn’t my first game; I was with the guys since the first game of the year.”

Forward Mikael Samuelsson also sat out the game against the Predators after he was struck in the left hand during Tuesday’s morning stake at Bridgestone Arena. Like Gustavsson, Samuelsson too has battled a bad groin all season. On Tuesday, he was expecting to play in his second game back after missing the previous 12, but he was hit in the hand by an Ian White slap shot in the morning.

“I don’t know if it’s serious or not serious,” Babcock said, of Samuelsson’s hand. “We’d like to have him play. We were excited to have him back. But there’s nothing you can do about that. Injuries are part of the game, you have to find a way to win games.”

Samuelsson, who will have an X-ray taken on Wednesday, said his swollen hand was sore.

“Yeah, it is, if I move it,” he said. “But I don't move it, so it's not painful.”

Currently, the Red Wing have five players on injured reserve: forwards Darren Helm (back), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Johan Franzen (hip), and defensemen Brendan Smith (shoulder) and Carlo Colaiacovo (collar bone).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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