DETROIT Sometimes one game, one solid performance, one game-changing moment can transform the course of an athletes career.
Melodramatic, perhaps, but Jimmy Howard not only needed to win in a must-win situation, he needed to be the difference-maker.
We can harp all we want on the Red Wings rookies coming of age in Detroits gripping, 3-2 overtime victory against Anaheim; however, it was Howard who stood the tallest in the end.
Entering Mondays game, Howard had been anything but spectacular in the playoffs. He had a 1-2 record, 3.33 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in these playoffs, which placed him near the bottom in all goaltending categories.
I wanted to give the guys a chance to win," said Howard, who stopped 31 of 33 shots. "They deserved that.
There were a couple of games there where I wasnt myself, and I felt tonight I needed to go out there and prove myself all over again to the guys.
And maybe prove something to himself and his critics.