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Nervousness for Gustavsson is a good thing

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 5:02 PM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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Jonas Gustavsson
Goalie - DET
RECORD: 0-0-1
GAA: 2.65 | SVP: 0.885
SAN JOSE, Calif. Jonas Gustavsson has 96 career NHL starts since arriving in North America three seasons ago as an undrafted free agent with the Maple Leafs.

But tonight, the Swedish import expects to be just as nervous in his first start with the Red Wings as he always was in Toronto.

“I'm always nervous before I play, but not to a point where it's a bad thing,” said Gustavsson, who will start against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. “I like to feel that nervousness. It means that there's something going on and that makes me sharp. So that's the kind of feeling you like as a goalie.”

Gustavsson has had a tough go at it with his new team, battling a sore groin basically since he tweaked it during a relief appearance in the season-opening loss at St. Louis.

The 28-year-old is 0-0-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average when called upon to relieve starter Jimmy Howard twice this season. Gustavsson’s even chipped in with some offense, picking up a secondary assist on Pavel Datsyuk’s highlight reel goal at Nashville on Feb. 19.

Tonight’s start probably would be tougher if it were his first action with his new team, he said. But it’s not.

Still, an injury that has lingered for nearly the entire first half of the season, isn’t ideal, either.

“Of course that's probably not the best situation, but that's the way it is,” Gustavsson said. “Through your career you're going to have different challenges. Just got to find a way to handle them and stay positive. For me that is in the past and I'm just trying to look forward to the game tonight.”

Obviously, coach Mike Babcock is eager to see what Gustavsson can bring to the Wings.

“I think it’s important that your starting goalie doesn’t have to play every night,” Babcock said. “It’s a real good opportunity for him. We need a win on the road and he’s capable of doing that so get in there and play like you can.”

Gustavsson will face the Sharks for the first time in his three-plus season career. Though the Sharks have had their struggles of late, Gustavsson said tonight is very important for the Wings.

“They're a talented team, tough challenge for us,” he said. “That's what we like. Find a way to bounce back from yesterday and get a win.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
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13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89