The Detroit Red Wings will get a few much-needed boosts tonight when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Darren Helm is expected to be back in the lineup after an absence of 281 days, while goaltender Petr Mrazek will get his first start of the season. He’ll be taking the place of an an injured Jonas Gustavsson, who is on short-term injured reserve with a kink in his neck.
Per Ken Holland, #RedWings G Jonas Gustavsson (neck) going on short-term IR, which means Petr Mrazek all but assured start Saturday at EDM
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) November 2, 2013
Mrazek wasn’t expecting a call up, let alone a start. He had quite the story as to how he finally made it to Calgary to back up Jimmy Howard against the Flames last night. As per the Detroit Free Press:
I didn’t have my stuff with me, my passport, so my girlfriend drove six hours to Cleveland to give me my passport. They told me I had to fly at 6 in the morning.
The journey to the NHL is typically long and winding, especially for goalies. Any amount of jet lag has worn off by now though, and Mrazek will be looked upon to come up with a solid performance against an Oilers team that could find a new gear any day now. With the way Detroit’s luck has been going lately, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nail Yakupov suddenly turn into a two-way player while Justin Schultz figured out how to play defense.
Mrazek was 1-1 in the NHL last year, sporting a 2.02 GAA and a .922 save percentage. That showing was just a cup of coffee, like this outing in Edmonton is likely to be.