The Detroit Red Wings will start Magnus Hellberg in net against the Ottawa Senators tonight because No. 1 Ville Husso is still not feeling well.
Husso was feeling poorly when he started the game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday and gave up four first period goals.
“Probably made sense with his performance in the first period,” Lalonde said. “Give him credit. He wanted to be in there. If we had to do it over again, would we start him? I don’t know. But give the kid credit, he’s probably not himself feeling 100 percent. But he wanted that start, he demanded that start, which says a lot for a goalie.”
Magnus Hellberg has played in Detroit’s last two games, the come-from-behind overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the 6-3 loss in Buffalo. He has moved ahead of Alex Nedeljkovic on the depth chart.
“We’ve been tough on him,” Lalonde said of Hellberg. “Buffalo was a really tough read. He does not get a ton of action the second period, but it’s slot, all alone, Grade A. It’s a little unfair to him that he may not see a puck for 7-8 minutes and then when he sees it it’s downhill in the slot, which is on us. So Buffalo is a tough read. It’s more on the team that you do not want to give a highly skilled team easy offense, which is exactly what we did.”
In other words, Hellberg has played better than his 3.02 goals-against average and .892 save percentage.
“If we look back on that game as a whole, if you take the score away and look at the underlying numbers, we probably are the better team, we probably win the analytics game,” Lalonde said. “But that’s not how the game is played. It’s played on mistakes, egregious turnovers and we’re the team that did that.”
This is an important game against the Senators: The Red Wings, based on points, are technically in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, but they are only four points ahead of last-place Montreal. If the Senators beat Detroit in regulation, they each would have 37 points.
In their past three games, the Senators have faced the Capitals twice and the Boston Bruins and earned five of out of six points.