Over the last decade or so, Detroit's goaltenders have continuously performed well, but have been given the shaft when it comes to any credit.
Typically, those goalies are criticized because of the quality of Detroit's defense, which is a fair statement, but not exactly one that's limited just to Detroit.
This year, Jimmy Howard has had an outstanding season that has garnered him attention for a possible Vezina nomination, so with that said, here are the reasons Howard deserves the trophy.
Everybody criticizes Detroit goaltenders for the strong defense they play behind. Maybe they do, but is that to suggest that Tim Thomas didn't play behind a strong defense last year?
On top of that, while Detroit's defense is still good, it's not as great as it has been in years past.
And Howard is playing the best a goaltender has played in Detroit in year. If he finished the year with over a .931 SV%, it will be the best a Detroit goaltender has ever finished with.
So while Detroit's defense is certainly a helper for Howard, it's not as if he's not making the team better himself.
Put it into perspective... Howard has played in 29 of the Red Wings 33 games. At that pace, he would start 71 games, and finish with 49 wins.
While Howard obviously won't play that many games, that's still an impressive pace to set. Howard also started 17 games in a row. Not exactly preferable, but still good to know that your goaltender can make long runs.
Howard has had his losses, but when he has them, they aren't complete blowouts. In a typical game, he's not allowing more than two goals.
If you don't believe it, look at Howard's 1.91 GAA.
Sure, every once in awhile, Howard will spot a team four goals, but he typically tends to keep the scoring against the Wings low.
Howard has won more games than any other goaltender in the league.
As it was noted in previous slides, he has 20 wins, and at his current pace, he would finish the season with 49 wins.
Nothing too shabby, and while wins are a team stat, they're the most important team stat in the league. You've gotta win games to make the playoffs, and Howard does that with the Red Wings.