‘He’s been great’: Ville Husso’s focus keys his fast start with Red Wings

Detroit News

Detroit — You could tell the focus goaltender Ville Husso had late in Saturday’s game when Husso lost his stick.

Instead of reaching down and picking it up, which defenseman Ben Chiarot was almost pleading to do, Husso stayed focused on the puck.

Much as Husso did the entire game Saturday, making 24 saves in a 3-0 shutout win over the New York Islanders.

“It seemed like he felt I needed it,” said Husso, who earned his second shutout as a Red Wing, adding he is fine without a stick in that sort of situation while eyeing where the puck is.

Coach Derek Lalonde was like most other people, thinking to himself “the stick is there, pick it up.” But Lalonde also appreciated how into the game Husso was, and is.

“You’ll make more saves with it (the stick), but you see the focus literally just following the play,” Lalonde said.

Lalonde has been alternating goaltenders up until the last week, as Husso has gotten four of the last five starts, with Alex Nedeljkovic getting the other.

After Husso’s impressive win Thursday, Lalonde went back to Husso, who is the hot goalie at the moment.

“Just the way he’s playing,” Lalonde said of the reason for Husso’s start. “We knew both guys were going to get a game (this weekend with a back-to-back), so just probably some momentum of where he was last game. I could have easily started Nedo tonight, but I started Ville instead and he obviously carried over from where he was the other night.

“Our goal is to be better in front of Nedo (Sunday against New York Rangers).”

Husso is 5-1-1 with an 1.86 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Nedeljkovic is 1-2-1 with a 4.96 GAA and .871 SVS.

Nedeljkovic has had the unfortunate luck of being in net during some of the Wings’ poorer defensive efforts. Husso, on the other hand, has been steadily impressive but for one shaky overtime loss against Los Angeles.

“The consistency in his game,” Lalonde said of what has impressed him most about Husso. “He probably had the one game where he just didn’t look like himself and that was (Los Angeles), but the consistency in his game, calm demeanor, his puck play the last couple of games and handling the puck. He had a couple of clears (Saturday). That’s a confident goalie.

“He’s been great for us.”

The Wings blocked 24 shots in front of Husso, which made the goaltender’s life that much easier.

“That was something at the start of the year (was discussed), it (blocked shots) wasn’t good enough here last year. Everybody is blocking and for a goalie it makes it a little easier,” Husso said. “It builds a team too. Some guy makes a big block there and at the end of the game, those are big moments in the game and make winning hockey.”

Everybody doesn’t love Raymond

The Islanders seemed to have it in for Lucas Raymond from the beginning of Saturday’s game, and they definitely weren’t pleased after Raymond’s hard, clean check on Mathew Barzal.

Even Raymond was a bit surprised he agitated the Islanders so much.

“Yes, a little bit,” Raymond said. “I had a big hit there, so I get where they’re coming from, which is fine. It was a tough game and they played good.

“It was a physical game. Both teams played hard, and that’s a big part of their game, to play tough. It was just for us to stay calm and focused on the game.”

Lalonde wasn’t surprised by the Islanders’ aggressiveness but was glad to see Raymond stick up for himself.

“That’s them. That’s a strong, heavy team and a little bit of their identity,” Lalonde said. “If you’re going to back down, you’re going to be in for a long night. It’s today’s NHL. You don’t have to fight, but you do have to stand up for yourself and for the most part, our guys did that.”

Ice chips

The Wings called up forward Austin Czarnik (Trenton) before the game, figuring they needed an extra body with some players nursing aches and pains, including Dylan Larkin, who didn’t practice Friday.

Czarnik wasn’t eventually needed Saturday, but will be Sunday after Filip Zadina (lower body) left Saturday’s game early against the Islanders after blocking a shot.

Lalonde wasn’t optimistic about Zadina’s availability.

… The Wings have won three consecutive games on home ice, marking the team’s longest winning streak at Little Caesars Arena since recording five straight wins from Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2021.… The Wings recorded a power-play goal and shorthanded goal in the same game for the first time since Jan. 11, 2019 at Winnipeg. Additionally, Detroit netted a power-play goal and shorthanded goal in the same period for the first time since doing so in the opening period on Oct. 30, 2018 in Columbus.

… Chiarot skated in his 500th career NHL game.

Red Wings at Rangers

▶ Faceoff: 5 p.m. Sunday, Madison Square Garden, New York

▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1

▶ Outlook: The Rangers (6-4-2) are a rested team, while the Red Wings play their third game in four nights. … The Rangers reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, but have gotten off to an inconsistent start. … LW Artemi Panarin is off to a superb start (five goals, 11 assists), as is G Igor Shesterkin (6-1-2, 2.41 GAA, .916 SVS).


Twitter: @tkulfan

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