LOS ANGELES – Petr Mrazek will get the night off when the Red Wings play the second of back-to-back games tonight in Southern California.
It’s a well-deserved break for the 23-year-old goaltender, who was named the second star of the week by the National Hockey League on Monday.
Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings when they face-off against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center tonight.
Mrazek, who has appeared in the past 10 games – which includes eight starts – allowed just two goals last week while leading Detroit to three wins – all on the road – at New Jersey, San Jose and Anaheim.
This season, in 28 games played, Mrazek has posted a 15-8-3 record with a 2.16 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Only Washington’s Braden Holtby (.932) and Florida’s Roberto Luongo (.931) have better save percentages among goalies who have logged as many games played.
Mrazek’s GAA ranks sixth among NHL goalies with as many games played.
Last week, Mrazek was 3-0-0 with a 0.67 GAA and .978 save percentage. He made 22 saves in shutting out the Devils, 1-0, last Monday; made 35 saves in a 2-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday; and stopped 30 shots in Sunday’s 2-1 victory against the Ducks.
In Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Sharks, Mrazek’s spectacular paddle save on Joel Ward factored in the Wings’ win. It wasn’t noted on the score sheet, however, Justin Abdelkader, who scored the game-winner moments after the goalie’s stunning save, gave credit to the goaltender after the game at SAP Center.
"From the bench I saw it,” Abdelkader said of the save that came with 7:05 left in regulation. “I couldn't really tell exactly how it happened. I imagine on replay it's one of the best, I know he did it to (Brian) Boyle there in the playoffs, probably similar-type play. It's amazing. He's done it to me a few times in practice so I know what that feels like when you don't score. He's really an athletic goalie and can really move laterally, side to side, and is smart that way, got his stick on it. We're fortunate because that's obviously a turning point in the game."
Just 13 seconds later, Abdelkader jumped over the boards to fire a loose puck from the slot that beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones.
On several occasions this season, including this current four-game winning streak, Mrazek has been the Wings’ best play on the ice, and for coach Jeff Blashill, Sunday was a great example.
“I thought Petr was good again tonight,” he said. “When we gave up chances he made big saves and he’s done that over this stretch of games for sure. I thought it was an unreal hockey game, I thought both teams pushed back and forth. We obviously started great and then they scored and got momentum the rest of the first. It had ebb and flow and had great chances both ways. I thought both goalies were really good and certainly Petr was a big factor in the win.”
Mrazek’s next win will equal his win total of last season when he posted a 16-9-2 record in 29 games played.