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."