But the Red Wings’ reserve goaltender is beginning to make the most of his limited opportunities.
With Hasek sidelined by a groin injury, Joseph may get an opportunity to build on one of his most impressive performances of the season as the Red Wings host the Washington Capitals.
Joseph, who came to Detroit last season as Hasek’s replacement, has been an afterthought in the Red Wings’ lineup since Hasek came out of retirement in the offseason. With fourth-year backup Manny Legace also getting six starts, Joseph has made just four starts, including Sunday’s 5-2 win at Minnesota—his first appearance since Nov. 8.
Joseph, earning $8 million this season, stopped 27 of 29 shots as Detroit improved to 5-1-1 in its last seven games.
“There’s a million excuses, but good players try to rise above it,” Joseph said. “You never want to settle for not playing. It’s a tough situation. … The best part is playing and winning. It’s a cure-all for everything.”
The Red Wings are still trying to deal Joseph, but coach Dave Lewis appreciates his veteran netminder’s respect for the game despite his tenuous situation in Detroit.
“You could tell he was really into the game,” Lewis said. “I’m sure there’s a whirlwind of things going on his mind, but he’s battled and tonight you saw it.”
Hasek remains listed as day-to-day. Legace last started on Thursday at Columbus, making 21 saves in a 3-0 loss.
The Capitals are coming off Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Florida.
Robert Lang continued his brilliant play for the struggling Capitals, scoring with 59.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Lang has registered at least one point in a career-high 11 straight games—the longest streak in the NHL this season.
Jaromir Jagr also scored for Washington, which has won just twice in its last eight (2-5-0-1).
The Capitals’ five wins tie them with Pittsburgh and San Jose for the fewest in the league.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 22): Capitals - 12 points, 5th place, 14 PB, Southeast Division. Red Wings - 24 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Lang, 11 goals and 25 points; Sergei Gonchar, 17 assists; Jason Doig, 44 PIM. Red Wings - Brett Hull and Steve Yzerman, 9 goals; Nicklas Lidstrom, 12 assists; Hull, 19 points; Darryl Bootland, 43 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 22): Capitals - Power play: 19.8 percent (19 for 96), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.0 percent (73 for 89), 21st. Red Wings - Power play: 25.6 percent (22 for 86), 2nd. Penalty killing: 82.8 percent (72 for 87), 17th.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 22; Red Wings, 5-1. At Washington, Mathieu Dandenault and Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist as the Red Wings dominated play, limiting the Capitals to just 18 shots. Gonchar scored for Washington.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 2-8-1-0 on the road; Red Wings - 6-2-0-0 at home.