Red Wings, Howard blitzed 7-1 by Wild
The Red Wings’ miseries and Jimmy Howard’s personal nightmare continued on Thursday night.
Detroit was demolished 7-1 by the Minnesota Wild at Little Caesars Arena, and Howard – in a rare start these days – continued his now four-month skid.
He was pulled after allowing five goals on 17 shots. The fifth goal looked like an easy-to-handle wrist shot from the right circle by Jordan Greenway. But the puck trickled through Howard’s equipment on the short side.
He was replaced by Jonathan Bernier. It was the fifth time this season that Howard has been pulled
Howard is 2-23-2 for the season with a goals-against average of over 4. He last won on Oct. 29, and is 0-18-2 since. He has allowed nine goals on 33 shots in his last two games.
His previous start was a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 16, in which he gave up four goals on 16 shots before being pulled.
“I’d like to go and give him an effort where we don’t give up many chances and try to get his game back going,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think that there’s a responsibility of the team to do that. We didn’t start the game to help him.”
Anthony Mantha scored the Wings’ only goal, and Bernier stopped seven of the nine shots he faced.
The Red Wings have lost four straight and have been outscored 19-5 in those games.
“We didn’t show up for our goalies. We didn’t backcheck. We didn’t cover back doors,” Dylan Larkin said. “We just made it so easy on them (the Wild) to generate chance after chance. It’s extremely frustrating right now.”
Mantha’s breakaway goal 7:33 into the second period – his 14th of the season – made it 3-1 after Minnesota scored three goals in a 2:20 span in the first period.
Ryan Hartman opened the scoring at 7:52, Ryan Donato made it 2-0, 27 seconds later and defenseman Matt Dumba scored his first of two goals – he also had an assist – with 9:48 left in the opening period.
But the score did not stay 3-1 long because Dumba’s second goal of the game, on the power play 2:57 after Mantha put Detroit on the scoreboard restored the Wild’s three-goal lead. Greenway then chased Howard 1:35 later to make it 5-1.
Kevin Fiala added a goal late in the second period, and Eric Staal completed the scoring in the third.
Center Sam Gagner made his Red Wings debut after being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in the Andreas Athanasiou trade.
… Filip Hronek returned after missing four games with a head injury.