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Mrazek to make NHL debut

Wings goaltending prospect to face Blues tonight

Thursday, 02.7.2013 / 1:33 PM ET / News
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Mrazek to make NHL debut

Petr Mrazek

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Babcock felt like Jimmy Howard couldn't play 48 straight games, so the Red Wings' coach is going to give a young Czech Republic native his first experience in the National Hockey League.

Petr Mrazek will make his NHL debut tonight when the Red Wings face the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

Mrazek, 20, was recalled as the Wings have a host of injuries, including to goalies Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and Joey MacDonald (back). Plus, Babcock feels like Howard needs a break. He's started all nine games for the Red Wings this season and in a compressed schedule, could use a breather.

"We didn't think he could play 48 straight, so we thought we better give him (the night off)," Babcock said. "This whole time we thought we'd be getting another goalie back. We just assumed that Gus would play, maybe MacDonald would play, but that never happened so we felt after the last two games that Howie needed a mental break. ... He needs a day where he doesn't have to think about getting another start."

Mrazek, who played for the Czech Republic at the 2011 World Junior Championships and was named to the tournament's all-star team, including the top goaltender award, was 16-7-1 for the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. He had a 2.26 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage and was a member of the Western Conference all-star team.

"I'm really excited," said Mrazek, who includes Dominik Hasek and Marc-Andre Fleury as his idols growing up. "I didn't expect it to happen that fast, but I can't wait for tonight. I will try and do my best to stop the pucks tonight. I will enjoy every minute on the ice."

Babcock added, "This kid ... he's been the berries everywhere he's been, so let's watch him.

"He just wins. Nothing seems to faze him ... he just wins. Grand Rapids was 0-4-1 when he arrived there, and then all he did was come there and change the whole thing."

The Red Wings begin a stretch of three games in four days tonight.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80