May 23, 2013, 3:49 PM EDT
“You have to have a good goalie to go anywhere in the playoffs and we have it,” said Zetterberg.
Howard — a 29-year-old that, in conversation at least, has never quite ascended into the elite category among NHL netminders — was brilliant in Games 2 and 3 versus the favored Blackhawks.
Howard stopped all but two of Chicago’s 60 combined shots in those two games, both Detroit victories, good for a save percentage of .967.
His save percentage in the playoffs is .923.
“He’s always had confidence, but there’s something different about it now,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland, per the New York Times. “He’s calmer, more assured. The play comes to him, and he knows what he needs to do.”
If Detroit sends Chicago packing, will Howard finally get the respect his teammates feel he deserves?
“I do hear some things at times about goalies in our city,” Zetterberg said. “I don’t know if it is a tradition here that you’re not really believing in your goaltending, but I don’t know what he needs to do to get people believing in him.
“We in here know he’s a really good goalie; it’s been shown.”
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