Petr Mrazek wiped the puck off with a towel, then put it in his bag, a memento he'll always treasure. Mrazek also got a congratulatory handshake from general manager Ken Holland in the locker room at Scottrade Center after making 26 saves to help the Red Wings defeat the Blues, 5-1, Thursday. "I thought he played well," coach Mike Babcock said. "He really handles the puck well - he makes it easy for the D, so you play in your zone less just because he's so good at it. The other thing I liked about him is, he didn't generate second chances for them. Good for the kid." A week shy of his 21st birthday, Mrazek became the 10th youngest goaltender to make his Wings debut, only the second to win it. "I felt great today," Mrazek said. "I was really excited to play. I'm never nervous. I enjoy every minute on the ice." Mrazek didn't see much work the first 30 minutes, but he made an especially key save on Andy McDonald late in the first period. The only Blues player to dent Mrazek was Alex Pietrangelo, during a power play. Mrazek has won all his debuts this season, from the ECHL to the AHL to the AHL All-Star game to the NHL. He got his shot Thursday because the Wings wanted to give Jimmy Howard a mental break after he'd started each of the first nine games and played all but one period. Howard would have preferred to play, he said, but "it's good to just hit the re-focus button." At the same time, it was an opportunity for Mrazek to show he can deliver in the big league after a strong showing in the minors. Mrazek was 16-7-1 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 25 games with the Griffins. He played in the Jan. 28 AHL All-Star game, and was last week's player of the week after stopping 53 of 54 shots over two games. Two years ago, he won the top goaltender award at the World Junior Championships.
Red Wings' Petr Mrazek keeps up amazing feats as he wins NHL debut
Detroit Free Press | Feb 8