Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/4/14
32
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. For his career, Howard has established himself as goalie that could handle the rigors of the regular season. So much so that the Wings inked him to a six-year, 31.8 million contract extension just before the playoffs. But while a goalie earns his salary during the regular season, he makes his name during the playoffs. Thus far, saying that Howards career playoff numbers have been mediocre might be a little too kind. In 31 games played (before Monday), his record was 14-17, with a 2.70 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and one shutout. In playoffs, all it takes is for a goalie to get hot and anything can happen, Howard said. Its upon me to go out there and make saves for the guys. Although Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller faced a steady onslaught of Red Wing shots, it was Howard who had to make the tougher stops. The Wings had several defensive lapses that lead to a plethora of odd-man rushes and a few breakaways. You need your goalie to be a star in the playoffs to have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup. Monday night, Jimmy Howard took a gigantic step toward leading his team to that silver chalice.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Favre delays Lambeau return because of Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

Ortiz surprised military families with World Series tickets

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Floyd Mayweather posts photo evidence of a lost bet

WATCH: Paul George takes court for first time since leg injury

Five most surprising NFL players through seven weeks

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.