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Goaltender Ville Husso giving Red Wings plenty of confidence with strong start


Detroit — When a goaltender has been playing like Ville Husso has, it gives a hockey team a whole new level of confidence.

The Wings have had a bit of extra swagger whenever Husso has been in net, just knowing Husso is going to keep the puck out of his net.

Husso went above and beyond Wednesday, in the 3-0 shutout victory over Nashville.

Husso made 26 saves, was superb during a momentum-turning 1-minute 37-second Nashville two-man advantage, all the while earning his NHL-leading third shutout.

"This was probably the first goalie-complete win; he stole the game," coach Derek Lalonde said. "He was the difference in the game. He was the best player on the ice."

Husso has the sparkling line of an 8-2-3 record, with a 2.36 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He's joining the discussion of the top goalies in the NHL, as the regular season approaches the quarter-pole.

Husso has allowed one goal or fewer in seven of his 13 starts with the Wings. There are a variety of reasons for the Wings 10-5-4 start, but Husso, who has gradually taken control of the net over Alex Nedeljkovic, is a prime reason for the Wings' fast start.

"It starts with that position," Lalonde said of the Wings' confidence with Husso in net. "The goalie (on) out, and we are confident group in front of him. (But) we don't want to get into a situation where we need him to bail us out, which I feel he did in the first and second (periods).

"But he was excellent."

Husso was his usual even-keel after Wednesday's victory, crediting his teammates in front of him for blocking shots and a tight defensive game.

Husso said he's been feeling ill in recent days, so maybe that's made him focus on the ice a bit more than usual.

Most of all, the opportunity Wednesday to face friend Kevin Lankinen, the Predators' goalie against the Wings, was satisfying.

The two goaltenders train together in their native Finland during the summer.

"In the summer we go on the ice together, work out together, spend a lot of time together," Husso said. "You get to play against him, it's always nice. Then we win."

You would expect some good-natured chirping by Husso after a victory such as that one, but Husso insists there was none.

"No, we don’t ever chirp each other," Husso said. "It's more about pushing each other to be better. He's a good goalie. He's grind(ed) his way all the way up here (to the NHL)."

Larkin leading

Captain Dylan Larkin got the Wings going with their first goal, Larkin's ninth goal (tying Dominik Kubalik for the team lead) and team-leading 23rd point (Larkin also has a team-leading 14 assists).

Larkin, who has yet to work out a contract extension beyond this season, is playing some of the best two-way hockey of his career and is another reason for the Wings' impressive start.

"That's what you need out of your top player," Lalonde said. "His overall game has improved and he has some winning habits and a commitment to doing things correctly. He is getting rewarded and our group is getting rewarded."

Ice chips

The Wings are making Little Caesars Arena a definitive home-ice advantage. Wednesday's victory gave the Wings a 6-2-2 record at home.

... The Wings reached the 10-win mark in their 19th game of the 2022-23 season, marking the fastest the team has reached double-digits in wins since going 10-4-5 to begin the 2014-15 campaign.

... With his goal Wednesday, defenseman Filip Hronek extend his point streak to five consecutive games with seven points in that span (five goals, two assists).

Hronek became the first Detroit defenseman with five goals in a five-game span since NicklasLidstrom from Dec. 15-23, 2010.

"As he's (Hronek) played more games and gotten experience, there's a quiet confidence," Larkin said. "He just goes about his business. He's someone that doesn't get too high or low. He's on a great roll right now and playing well."

... Forward David Perron extended his point streak to five games, with one goal and seven assists during the stretch.

Coyotes at Red Wings

▶ Faceoff: 8 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena

▶ TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit/97.1 FM

▶ Outlook: This will be the Coyotes (7-9-2) ninth game during a staggering 14-game road trip ... Impressively, the Coyotes are 4-3-1 thus far on the road odyssey, including Wednesday blanking Carolina 4-0 as G Karel Vejmelka earned his second shutout. ... RW Clayton Keller (seven goals, 19 points) leads offensively.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan