Hasek starts again
When the Detroit Red Wings host the Minnesota Wild tonight, Hasek will get his second start in as many games, a sign that the team's No. 1 netminder entering the season is bouncing back into form.
"Even though I haven't played in the last two weeks, I felt great in practices," said Hasek. "I knew I'd come back and I'd be ready. It's great to feel the game situations and see the puck in the game because games are always different. I hope I can play some games in a row and I will feel even better."
Hasek backed up Chris Osgood for six of the seven games prior to his win in Montreal, Tuesday.
Part of the reason is that Hasek has faltered, going 5-5-1 with an .864 save percentage before his start in Montreal. Hasek went three and a half weeks between his last two wins.
And part of the reason is that Osgood has shined, going 13-1-1 with a .924 save percentage. While Osgood has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 12 of his 15 starts, Hasek has managed just six of 12 starts with two or fewer goals allowed.
Hasek, however, looked fine in Montreal, Tuesday, allowing just one goal. Coach Mike Babcock named Hasek the starter for Friday's game after Wednesday's practice.
"Obviously to have two guys who have a history in the league and feel confident about themselves is real important for our team," said Babcock, whose team sits atop the NHL's overall standings. "We're going back with Dom (Friday) against Minny. The guy who's playing the best is going to play."
With nine games in the next 16 days, the Red Wings will have plenty of work to share.
"It's good to play lots this time of year actually," said Osgood. "You get through October and November and it starts to drag a little bit. Playing a lot of games will good for us, get us into a groove."
The switching back and forth between starting goaltenders hasn't strained the pair's relationship.
"Ozzie, he proved a lot through his whole career," said Hasek. "Especially this year, when he was on the ice, he either played a very good game or a great game. He really deserved to play lots of games. I had no regrets for myself when I didn't play last week."
"This isn't a soap opera here," said Osgood. "Our relationship never changes regardless of who's playing or not. We're here to win. That's the bottom line. Our relationship isn't affected by who's playing tomorrow or who's playing the next game. We talk the same, do everything the same as we always have."