Wings’ Howard leaves game against Capitals with groin injury

Red Wings trainer Piet Van Zant had to call for a stretcher to wheel Jimmy Howard off the ice.

Geoff Burke

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard did not last long in Saturday night’s game.

After trying to get back into the net quickly to prevent a power-play goal, Howard suffered an injured groin, according to Wings officials.

Washington’s Troy Brouwer scored the power-play goal on a wraparound at 1:53 of the first period en route to a 3-1 win over the Wings..

Howard could not get up, so trainer Piet Van Zant had to call for a stretcher to wheel Howard off the ice.

"You know Howard doesn’t get carried off on a stretcher if it isn’t severe," said Jonathan Ericsson, who scored the Wings’ only goal. "Hopefully he’s going to recover fast."

Trainers and doctors were treating Howard in the Wings’ dressing room.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said Howard would undergo tests Sunday when the team returned to Detroit.

"We really don’t know the extent of the groin injury until we get pics (pictures)," Holland said.

Petr Mrazek, who won in Calgary Wednesday night, replaced Howard in net.

"It is never nice to see someone be hurt and go off the ice like that," Mrazek told reporters in Washington, D.C. "You have to be in the game after but the mind on Howie is there. But it’s the game so you have to think about it."

Mrazek made 12 saves on 14 shots.

"It’s not what you want to see, obviously," Tomas Tatar said. "I hope Howie’s going to get better but Petr did a good job for us. He hold us in the game. We just needed to score maybe one more goal to get us back, but unfortunately we didn’t."

Based upon Howard’s reaction to the injury, Mrazek could be the Wings’ main goaltender for a while.

"He’s a great goalie," Zetterberg told reporters in Washington, D.C. "I’ve said it before, he reads the plays really well, he plays the puck like a defenseman, so we have a lot of confidence in him. I don’t want to jump the gun here yet, just gotta wait and see how bad it is with Howie. It is obviously gonna be bad for a few games."

As he always says when it comes to injuries, Wings coach Mike Babcock said it was an opportunity for Mrazek.

"We’re going to have to get him settled down a little bit," Babcock told reporters in Washington, D.C. "There’s a point where he challenges and then over-challenges. We got to get that under control. We should have no trouble with that. He’s a good goaltender, he plays the puck well and he’ll win games for us."

The injury occurred a little more than an hour after Howard learned he would be the Wings’ only representative at the All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio Jan. 25.