Despite not receiving a lot of time to prepare, Jonas Gustavsson was outstanding for the Detroit Red Wings as they defeated the Boston Bruins by a 3-2 final earlier today. Jimmy Howard was supposed to get the nod against the defending Eastern Conference champions, but at the last minute had to pull out of the contest because of a bruised hand.
Howard hurt his hand when hit by a shot in the Philly game. He thought he could play today but wasn’t ready.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) October 14, 2013
According to the Detroit News, Gustavsson wasn’t aware of his impending start until about 20 minutes before puck drop. Goalies don’t get much colder than Gustavsson was at that point. He had missed most of last season while battling injuries, and his groin continued to hamper him in the preseason this year, forcing him out of action only two periods into his first game.
He began the season on the IR, but was recently removed. In a perfect world, Gustavsson wouldn’t have had to face the Bruins in his first game back. Then again, maybe this was the perfect world scenario for the man they call “Monster.” He’s been maligned for his inability to stay healthy throughout his tenure in Detroit so far, but stepped up in a massive way against the Bruins.
He made 28 saves against Boston and received a lot of credit from everyone in the locker room following the victory. Coach Mike Babcock spoke to the Detroit News about Gustavsson’s strong start:
You have to give Gus a lot of credit. He didn’t know he was playing. He gets confidence and if he feels good about himself and we feel good about him, he gets to keep playing.