To an extent I agree with you, in the sense that I REALLY WANT Howard to stand on his head. It would be super nice if he did. But there's no substitute for quality play in front of the goalie. Look at Ryan Miller. The guy's a stud, a veteran, a guy that can steal games for you, etc. etc. etc. Except he wasn't stealing games for Buffalo, he was getting murdered. You could say the same things about him as we currently do about Howard. Then, all of a sudden, he goes and plays on a real team with real hockey players and he's a superstar again. And it's not just that he's benefiting from St. Louis' system, because he's playing better than Halak or Elliot did with the same team.
When we talk about goalies "stealing games" it's easy to think that top flight goalies can play behind HORRIBLE defenses and win games all by their lonesome. That rarely happens. Usually when a goalie steals a game it's because either two very good teams, or two very bad teams are playing and the goalie ends up being the difference. When it's a bad vs. a good team the goalie rarely overcomes that.
Ryan Miller became a "stud" goalie because he did steal games for a really subpar team for a lot of years. I think the only difference now is that he's older and isn't able to do it as much. I don't think Buffalo was giving up a ton of goals, they just weren't scoring many. Goaltending is also as much about when you give up goals as it is how many. Howard has the tendency to let those weak ones in just when the Wings need him to make a big save late in the period or right after they score. No, it's not always his fault and yes our defense is weak, and missing two of the best defensive forwards in the game doesn't help either. Most every goalie makes a few good saves every game.
I'm not saying Jimmy has to have a shut out every game, but there's got to be some games down the stretch where we say, wow, we should not have won that game, Howard stole that one for us. There haven't been many like that this year.
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