Its early I know, but it is looking like our first strong goalie pairing since 07-08.
08-09 Osgood sucked and Conklin bailed us out.
09-10 Howard took over as starter and Osgood sucked
10-11 Howard was great until he got injured, and then he sucked. Osgood sucked, Macdonald was meh
11-12 Howard was great, Conklin sucked and had to be bailed out by Macdonald
12-13 Howard was great, Gustavson was either injured or sucking.
As I finish up my tasty plate of crow, I'm still not ready to declare that Jonas Gustavsson is suddenly "fixed", or that his litany of heart, groin, and soft tissue injuries won't come back to bite him. That being said, that one-timer save last night (where he reached over with his glove, but actually trapped it between his arm and body) is a great example of using his size well and playing deep in the net. Minimal movement, maximum coverage. When Henrik Lundquist is playing well, he does it similarly.
At the end of the day, having a good "goaltending tandem" can be a nice way to take mileage off a starter, but it's largely irrelevant to overall success so long as you have a solid #1 that can play 60+ games. Which the Red Wings do in Jimmy Howard. The 08-09 season got us back to the Cup Finals, and as you said, our backup play was largely atrocious the past two seasons, except for a few memorable Mrazek performances.
The reason you may be right THIS year, however, is the Olympics. It's looking more and more probable that Jimmy Howard could play some or many of the games for the U.S. team in Sochi. Even just being overseas and practicing with the team will put additional strain on him in what would otherwise be a 2-week vacation. So Monster may be needed. Plus, if Mrazek was called into duty out of necessity LAST season, it seems likely they could do the same this year.