The James Reimer start in goal for the Detroit Red Wings Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens seems like it could be important in determining whether he gets an increase in playing time.
Detroit coach Derek Lalonde didn’t commit to anything except Reimer is starting the next game. However, it seems as if Lalonde is open to change, if only to figure out how to give No. 3 goalie Alex Lyon a start.
“It’s real when I talk about getting Alex in,” Lalonde said. “James’ play has made that hard on us.”
Ville Husso is the No. 1 goalie. He’s 5-3-1 with a bloated 3.57 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. He’s given up three or more goals in eight of his nine starts this season. Going back to last season, he has surrendered three or more in 15 of his last 17. Meanwhile, Reimer is at 1.52 and .944.
“You look at our goaltending on a whole, we are almost at the bottom of the entire league in all statistical categories,” Lalonde said. “That said, full confidence in Ville, love how he’s battling. He’s winning hockey games. We’re still in the midst of evaluating Alex and wanting to get him in. Obviously, a little complicated with two games before the Europe trip. It’s in discussion. We probably haven’t come up with a final plan yet. ”
It sure sounds as if Lalonde is considering all of his options for Reimer, Lyon and Husso.
“The only thing final is James is playing tomorrow and we’ll probably re-evaluate after that,” Lalonde said.
Lyon Going to Sweden
Lalonde had previously talked about placing Lyon in Grand Rapids on a conditioning assignment. But the Red Wings are leaving for Sweden Saturday after the home game against Columbus (1 p.m.), leaving no time to do that right now.
“In Sweden, you want three goalies,” Lalonde said. “He’ll probably get a lot of quality work even if he doesn’t get game time. As tough as that travel is, we’ll get two full practices before we play. I think we’d be more apt to, in the immediate week or two, to play him here for a conditioning stint, but it’s something we’ll re-evaluate after tomorrow.”
No matter who’s in goal, the Red Wings probably feel like they must pick up four points in these next two games.
With seven of the eight Atlantic Division teams currently sitting with a points percentage at .500 or better, the Red Wings cannot afford to lose games against teams that are below them in the Eastern Conference standings.
In injury news, Lalonde team captain Dylan Larkin (undisclosed injury) should play against Montreal.
“He didn’t skate today,” Lalonde said. ” But he got through yesterday well and he’ll be available tomorrow.”
Lalonde was less certain about Robby Fabbri, who came back from injury last game.
“Fabs we’ll re-evaluate,” Lalonde said. “He hasn’t played for a month. Rehab in training is a lot different. We’ll see if we want to put him through the game on Thursday. If not, we’ll give him a little more time.”