Detroit — Goaltender Ville Husso made his exhibition debut Friday and if Husso can maintain the level of play he displayed, the Red Wings will be quite happy.
Husso stopped all 13 shots he saw from the Washington in the Capitals’ 2-0 victory. Victor Brattstrom replaced Husso halfway through the game, which is the norm in preseason hockey, but by that point Husso had gotten what he needed.
“For me, as a goalie you just want to go out there and try to get the timing back, feel the puck and atmosphere,” Husso said.
The Wings acquired Husso from St. Louis during the NHL Entry Draft weekend, forming what appears to be a formidable goaltending duo with Alex Nedeljkovic.
Husso was headed to unrestricted free agency, but he quickly signed a three-year contract worth $14.25 million ($4.75 million per cap hit). The adjustment to the Wings has been, thus far, seamless.
“The guys are great, so that helps a lot, the staff, so that’s helped a lot,” Husso said. “It’s been pretty easy to come in as a new guy.
“There’s little things in the game, like we might defend a little different than in St. Louis, but at the end of the day you have to stop the puck and I try to do my part.”
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How Husso and Nedeljkovic play, their performance overall, will largely likely be determined by how well the Wings play defensively in front of them.
Coach Derek Lalonde was pleased with how the Wings defended in front of both goalies this week, including Friday against Washington.
“I liked Husso, but it’s a credit to the game in front of him,” Lalonde siad. “That was a comfortable 32 minutes for Husso. He probably only faced two or three chances against, one or two Grade A’s. We want to put our goalie in those situations more nights than not.”
Both Husso and Nedeljkovic have played one half of games thus far, but they are likely to see a full 60 minutes before the preseason ends in the next seven days.
“It’s always nice to start with half games, get the routines and all that back, the game day nap, all that stuff,” Husso said.
Tyler Bertuzzi, who has yet to play an exhibition game after getting hurt last week in training camp, could play Monday when the Wings host Pittsburgh.
Bertuzzi began practicing late this week and there was a chance he’d be in the lineup Saturday in Chicago. But it didn’t happen.
“He’s very close,” said Lalonde, who added if this were a regular-season game “we’d probably see him tonight.”