Found February 23, 2013 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT You see it so often when the playoffs roll around but it's nearly as true in this shortened NHL season the goaltender is the most important player.
For the injury-depleted Detroit Red Wings, that is more true than ever.
True, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard can't help the team's struggling power play, but if he prevents the other team from scoring, the Wings will win.
The Wings needed Howard more than ever Saturday night against the Central Division rival Nashville Predators, who came into the game fourth in the Western Conference standings.
Howard was more than up to the challenge, making 33 saves in a 4-0 shutout, snapping the Wings' five-game losing streak (two in overtime).
"He made a great save there at the end to keep the shutout going," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought he was really good early when the game was right on the line. They were better than us early and he was good. Really good for him but more importantly, good for us. We needed the win."
It was Howard's first shutout of the season, the 12th of his career.
"Shutouts are sort of they get credited to the goalie, but theyre more of a team aspect," Howard said. "You need everyone pitching in for myself to go out there and get one. I think its more of a team stat."
The Predators were all over the Wings in the first period, yet it was the Wings that emerged with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Drew Miller's rebound goal at the net.
"The first period was Howard. It was all Howard," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "He was outstanding in the first."
The Predators have now been shut out a league-high five times and remain the NHL's lowest-scoring team.
Yet they were the ones with more quality scoring chances, including a breakaway by Matt Halischuk in the first period that could have tied it and changed the entire complexion of the game.
"I thought he played a great game," Miller said of Howard. "We count on him to play like that every night and he does. I think the save at the end, big toe save, was huge. He wanted the shutout and he earned it."
Howard was so good that even when his team took the dreaded 2-0 lead early in the second period, he didn't relinquish it.
The Wings had blown 2-0 leads in three of their last five games coming in.
"It's real big," Babcock said. "When you haven't won, it doesn't matter what the score is, the lead's never safe. It's just a confidence thing. Confidence in pro sports comes and goes in a hurry, so this is a big win for us."
Although Howard earned his first shutout, it wasn't even his best game of the season. That came Feb. 10 when he made 45 saves in a 3-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
"Each game is different," Howard said. "Against L.A., youre out there and you get into a rhythm with making saves. And (Saturday night) we did a better job of controlling the puck and playing in their end quite a bit. Theyre throwing a lot of pucks at the net. Thats what they do. All four lines funnel to the net and then they crash, and we did a great job of picking up sticks."
By winning Saturday night's game, the Wings jumped from 10th in the West to eighth. They've already given away points and can't afford to give away any more because the schedule gets tougher in the second half, with more games away from home.
"It was huge," said Daniel Cleary, who scored the Wings' fourth goal on the power play, Tomas Holmstrom-style. "We didnt even need to say anything about that before the game because everybody knows in the shortened season, the margin for error is almost nil."
The Wings are hoping to get a few of their injured players back next week, but even when they do Howard and Jonas Gustavsson will have to be at the top of their game.
Gustavsson, finally healthy after missing most of the beginning of the season, will make his first start Sunday evening against the Vancouver Canucks.
In three games played against the Canucks, Gustavsson is 0-2 with a 4.08 goals-against average and .878 save percentage.
The Wings need him to be a lot better than that Sunday and the rest of the season.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Jan Mursak waived
According to Helen St. James of the Detroit Free Press, the Wings waived oft-injured forward Jan Mursak.
Ken Holland stated that the move was done to get Mursak more playing time however James points out that if that extra playing time comes with another team the Wings can live with it.
“He needs to play,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. If...
Slightly strange news from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun regarding Red Wings forward Jan Mursak:
Detroit also places Jan Mursak on waivers today
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 22, 2013
I'm guessing that the Wings want Mursak to get playing time, but potentially losing a warm body given the injury parade of late seems strange.
The Free Press's Helene...
On Saturday afternoon, Red Wings fans were nervous...Or at least I was. The Wings were heading into a Saturday night tilt against Nashville in a must-must-win situation, having gone 0-3-and-2 over their past five games.
Saturday night, the Wings smoked Nashville 4-0, and we all felt a little better.
After the first period of today's game against Vancouver, Wings fans were...
I'm going to start an entry I wouldn't normally write with a set of announcements I normally wouldn't state:
1. I may or may not split up recaps and overnight reports from now on, depending on your feedback. I've done so for the Wings-Predators and now the Wings-Canucks games simply because there's so much going on during the weekends in terms of notes, quotes...
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings have put Jan Mursak on waivers, giving teams until noon Saturday to claim the 25-year-old left wing.
Mursak has played in only two games for Detroit this season. He had a goal and two assists in 25 games in 2011-12.
The Yugoslavia-born Mursak has two goals and two assists in 46 NHL games, all with Detroit. The Red Wings drafted him in the sixth...
Games like this, they just make me so happy. Early on it looked like it might be a long night with the Sedin twins playing nauseatingly great hockey, but Detroit took over in the second with, get this: our special teams. Not only did they score three with the man advantage, they didn’t give up any to a hot Vancouver power play. Awesome.
More after the jump:
The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Vancouver Canucks this afternoon (5 PM, FSD/Sportsnet West/97.1 FM) minus their designated starter for the day. As Paul noted, the Wings recalled Tom McCollum and will start Jimmy Howard instead of Jonas Gustavsson due to a "sore groin," though Wings GM Ken Holland told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that the team&...
Good win tonight. These recaps are a heck of a lot more fun to write than the losses. Though Nashville controlled the play for what seemed like the majority of the game, Howard was the difference, much like the last win against the Kings. I didn’t see any one player play poorly tonight, but I saw plenty of guys give their all.
More after the jump:
Murph said that Babcock...
The Detroit Red Wings' 4-0 victory over the Nashville Predators may or may not have been a command performance, but the Red Wings were able to rely on Jimmy Howard's superb netminding while finding their "legs," and while Drew Miller's 1-0 goal gave the Wings some tentative poise, Tomas Tatar's 2-0 goal 2:58 into the 2nd period seemed to put the Wings on...
This cannot be shown, masturbated to enough:
Pavel Datsyuk goes through an entire team for a coast-to-coast goal. You usually only see that **** in SEGA NHL.
The Nashville Predators were shutout once again for the second straight night as they fall 4-0 to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Unable to convert on the many chances they had, the Predators couldn’t put a shot past Jimmy Howard, who recorded his first shutout of the season by stopping all 33 shots that came his way.
Not only did Nashville lose the game, but...
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Canucks/ Red Wings
Vancouver is in Detroit today and looking end their road trip on a high by picking-up 7-of-8 points on it. Vancouver comes into this one after a Luongo out-dueled Rinne for the 1-0 win. Detroit also comes into this one after shutting out the Preds 4-0 last night.
After a shaky first period, the Red Wings all but destroy the Vancouver Canucks in an 8 - 3 victory, leading into two days off.
Jimmy Howard got his confidence boosted early with a spectacular save on Maxim Lapierre’s early breakaway. Vancouver then opened the scoring at 5:45 on a wrist shot from Daniel Sedin. The Red...
The Wings are 0-3-2 in their last five games. During that stretch they’ve scored just one power play goal and have blown two-goal leads three times. DET's special teams may take the prize for oxymoron of the year; the PP is beyond pathetic at 12.8% (28). The PK is just as bad, or worse, at 75.7% (25). Assuming, on average, DET are assessed 4 minors a game (I don't...
The Nashville Predators fly to the Motor City the day after being shutout by the Vancouver Canucks, 1-0 at Bridgestone Arena. Saturday night, the Preds take on their rival Detroit Red Wings for the second time in three games. Nashville was able to get the best of Detroit in overtime Tuesday, but the Red Wings will look to change that.
The Preds have a record of 8-5-5 and ranked...