As we are waiting to hear who’d get the cage in the first game of the season, all signs pointed towards Jonathan Bernier only because we expect head coach Jeff Blashill to rotate his netminders all season long. Still, it appears newcomer Thomas Greiss will get the nod on opening night.
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Greiss is coming off a stellar season with the highly defensive-minded New York Islanders recording a 16-9-4 record posting a solid .913 save percentage and a stout 2.74 goals-against average while making 28 starts.
The former San Jose Sharks and Islander netminder is used to splitting time in goal. Last season Greiss split time with Semyon Varlamov and, before that, Robin Lehner. Greiss has a career record of 137-90-28 record while posting a .915 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average.
Blashill won’t shy away from a goaltender rotation either; he’s used to pairing Bernier with long-time Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard over the past two seasons. Despite Detroit’s atrocious 2019-20 season, Bernier was one of the few bright spots, although his statistics won’t suggest it. Just take a second to recall how bad the Wings were as a whole. Bernier posted a 15-22-3 record, a .907 save percentage, and a 2.95 goals-against average while making 41 starts.
On the other hand, Howard won his last game on October 29th, 2019, and posted an appalling 2-22-2 record last season with a horrible .882 save percentage and 4.20 goals-against average.
Yzerman made a conscious effort to improve Detroit’s goaltending situation in the short-term, and Griess should bring some stability to the cage with Bernier. Let’s see tonight how the newest goaltender to dawn a winged wheel on his chest fares in Detroit’s season opener.