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Do Red Wings Have Goalie Controversy?

James Reimer is 7-2 in his last nine decisions



James Reimer, Red Wings
Red Wings goalie James Reimer has made consecutive starts just once since late December.

The Detroit Red Wings are left with two must-win games remaining on the NHL schedule in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. And as they arrive are Game 81 of the campaign, they are still facing the same question they’ve been dealing with for much of this season.

They don’t know who their go-to goalie is.

Left with a home-and-home set against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday-Tuesday to close out the regular season, do the Red Wings stick with veteran James Reimer? He got the win on Saturday in Toronto in his 500th career NHL game, drawing rave reviews from the team.

“The ultimate teammate,” was how captain Dylan Larkin was describing Reimer to Bally Sports Detroit. “He’s got the best attitude, coming to the rink with a smile.

“He gave a great speech after the game about how lucky he was to play one game, let alone 500.  It was a great locker room atmosphere after that game.”

Clearly, Reimer is giving the club a boost during his limited opportunities to work between the posts.

“He just battles,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “No matter what happens, we know we’re gonna get the most out of him and when he battles, I think it just lifts the group.”

He’s 7-2 over his last nine decisions. However, the 36-year-old puckstopper has been given successive starting assignments just once since late December.

Lyon Carrying Load For Red Wings

Since returning from injury in late December, journeyman veteran Alex Lyon, 31, has been seeing the bulk of duty between the pipes for Detroit. He’s been in the net in 36 of the last 45 games played by the Red Wings.

This season, Lyon has established career highs for games (43), wins (20) and shutouts (two).

“It speaks volumes for him as an individual, where he is in his career,” Lalonde said. “He’s a career minor leaguer. He was signed to be our starter in Grand Rapids and here he is giving us a chance this late in the season.

“It speaks really well on him.”

However, Lyon’s numbers of late aren’t tracking toward success. He’s 2-10-3 over his last 15 decisions. Granted, wins and losses by a team don’t rest solely on the shoulders of the netminder. Still, Reimer is coming off a big win. Will the Wings ride with him at home on Monday?

Husso Was Supposed To Be The Guy

At the outset of the season, Ville Husso was the de facto No. 1 goalie for Detroit. However, a pair of lower-body injuries have put him on the shelf for all but nine minutes of action since Dec. 18. Husso was to play a rehab assignment Friday with AHL Grand Rapids. However, he didn’t make it through the warmup. Lalonde indicated that Husso suffered a tweak to his injury.

That the Red Wings are contending for the playoffs without a true No. 1 goalie is a tribute to the work that Lyon and Reimer are delivering.

“There will be a lot to reflect back on this season,” Lalonde said. “For us to lose our starting goaltender and for us to be as competitive as we’ve been in that position speaks volumes on both those guys.

“They’ve been excellent for us.”