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Conklin's off to another fast start

For third straight year, backup earns opening-week shutout

Monday, 10.10.2011 / 7:03 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Conklin\'s off to another fast start
DETROIT – What is it about the opening week of the season for Ty Conklin?

The veteran backup goaltender was brilliant in leading the Red Wings to a 3-0 victory at Colorado Saturday night. However, it was the third straight year that Conklin has pitched a shutout – all on the road – in the opening week of the season.

“I think anybody can have good starts, fast starts,” said Conklin, who made 29 saves Saturday. “But with this team you have opportunities to have these types of games a little more often than some places.

“It’s not to say that you don’t have to make saves and you don’t have to work hard to get wins. This team prides itself defensively. And it shows up in goalies’ stats a lots of times. It shows up in the amount of wins that you have, and it shows up in goals-against and it can show up in shutouts, too.”

For Conklin, who is in his ninth NHL season and second stint as a member of the Wings’ franchise, Saturday’s shutout was the 17th of his career, and the seventh for the Wings. He posted a single-season best six shutouts for Detroit in 2008-09.

Conklin toiled in St. Louis for the past two seasons with an 18-18-6 record and six shutouts. But two of his shutouts came in his second starts of the season. Last year he blanked the New York Rangers, and the year before he turned away 26 shots in a 5-0 shutout at Anaheim.

“With most goalies, they’re going to go through 10-12 games where they play really, really well,” Conklin said. “Just like teams where everything that you shoot goes in, and then there’s going to be stretches where it becomes harder. That’s just the way it goes. That’s just hockey. The biggest thing is extending those good streaks as long as you can and making hay when the sun is shining.”

Conklin had several such winning streaks in his first stint with the Wings when he was the backup to Chris Osgood. Now that Conklin is playing behind starter Jimmy Howard, he knows that manufacturing successful streaks can be easier said than done, especially in a backup capacity.

“It’s a role that I’ve fulfilled for most of my career,” Conklin said. “I’ve gotten used to it. Everybody wants to play, but there’s only one net. I think what a backup goalie strives for is that there’s not a big drop-off from when he plays. He’s fresh and he should be excited every time he’s playing.”

Another benefit to a backup goalie is that he gets tested early in a game, which Conklin certainly was when the Avalanche fired 11 first-period shots in his direction Saturday.

“I think one of the biggest differences for a backup, in the first 5-10 minutes of the game, usually it’s pretty quick,” he said. “It helped to get shots early in.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
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 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
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