Detroit — Goaltender Ville Husso has been one of the Red Wings’ best, and consistent, players this season.
If it weren’t for Husso’s performance the first couple of months, the Wings might be a bit further down the standings than where they currently sit.
But Husso wasn’t able to save the Wings in a 5-1 loss Saturday to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Wings weren’t great, but Husso wasn’t sharp either, allowing five goals on 21 shots before being lifted for Magnus Hellberg.
“Why put him through the end?” coach Derek Lalonde said of the decision to pull Husso. “The game felt a little out of reach and he wasn’t sharp. Obviously five goals on (21) shots is not ideal. It was unfortunate because he didn’t have much chances on (goals) four and five, but he probably wants all three of those first three goals back. That was a frustrating game for him.”
With the Wings in the midst of one of their busiest stretches of the season, and the coaching staff wanting to get Husso acclimated to a heavy workload, don’t expect Husso to sit and work things out.
In fact, Lalonde was quick to say Husso would get the start Monday for the Wings against Florida.
“We’re going to play him through it,” Lalonde said. “We see a ton in Vill. We think he can be a very good goalie for us. He’s shown that this year. We’re going to get him beyond his comfort level and threshold and there might be some nights he’s not as sharp.
“That first goal (Saturday) was a point shot middle of the net, and he hasn’t given up that goal for a while. There’s going to be nights like this as we keep growing him. He’ll be back in Monday and I expect him to be sharp.”
Interestingly, the Wings are in St. Louis on Tuesday (and return Thursday to play the Blues at Little Caesars Arena), the same Blues team that Husso helped carry into the playoffs last season. But the Blues had little salary cap space and traded Husso’s rights to the Wings for a third-round draft pick last summer.
Husso likely will get one of the two starts against the Blues, but it’s unclear which game.
This is a statistic in which a hockey team definitely would rather not lead the NHL.
Saturday’s shorthanded goal was the 12th the Wings have allowed this season. Tampa and Vancouver are next with 11 apiece.
Saturday’s goal was particularly painful. On the power play and trailing 3-1, the Wings were in position to seriously get back into the game. Instead, Lars Eller put the Avalanche in commanding position, and the game’s momentum completely swung Colorado’s way.
“Huge,” Lalonde said of what a shorthanded goal can do. “They’re all different circumstances, but being a league high, that’s alarming.”
Lalonde viewed special teams as a huge factor in Saturday’s loss, as the Wings power play went scoreless in three attempts.
“Probably a little of that is inexperience with some guys,” Lalonde said of the 12 shorthanded goals allowed. “But (it’s) not a recipe for success. Even look at the first power play, we don’t score but it was sharp, our skill guys get chances and momentum, and we cash in on a goal after.
“Second power play is not. It’s amazing the momentum off power plays and obviously the shorty, it’s 3-1, the way the game was going where I was very comfortable if we could cash in on the power play, we would have had a really good chance of momentum.
“Instead we find ourselves down 4-1 and probably led to goal five and the game’s over.”
Defenseman Simon Edvinsson made a positive impression in his NHL debut, playing over 15 minutes against the Avalanche and making several nice plays on both ends of the rink.
Edvinsson is on an emergency recall from the minor league affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins because of injuries to defensemen Ben Chiarot and Gustav Lindstrom. Chiarot (lower-body) is out on a week-to-week basis, but Lindstrom is day-to-day.
If Lindstrom is ready to play, Edvinsson returns to Grand Rapids.
“We lost a top-four huge-minute guy in Chiarot, so we were going to play him (Edvinsson) to win and trust him in certain situations,” Lalonde said. “We did want to keep him away from their top line, but we were comfortable playing him throughout.”
Edvinsson, the 2021 first-round draft pick (sixth pick overall) was aware of the excitement fans had of seeing the Wings’ top prospect.
“I kind of know what to expect and what people expect from me,” Edvinsson said. “I just need to keep developing from here. I felt a lot better this game than I did in the preseason. We need to develop as a team and I need to develop as a player here.
“I just want to go from here and keep getting better.”
Panthers at Red Wings
▶ Faceoff: 7 p.m. Monday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM
▶ Outlook: The Panthers (35-27-7) have roared back into playoff contention and are only one point from an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. … Florida is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games. … LW Matthew Tkachuk leads an explosive offensive team with 92 points (32 goals, 60 assists), with C Carter Verhaeghe adding 34 goals.