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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 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
8 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
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 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 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