DETROIT – When it comes to hockey, you have to have a short memory. Despite a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers, Jimmy Howard proved that fact on Saturday night.
The Red Wings’ goalie, who was pulled from Wednesday’s 6-1 loss after allowing three goals on eight shots against Ottawa, performed far better on Saturday, stopping 37 of 40 shots. Making a strong comeback isn’t anything new to the goaltender, as he is now 10-4-2 in games after being chased from the net.
“That’s what he does,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall. “He’s very strong mentally and doesn’t let anything get to him. I’m sure he wasn’t very happy about the last game, but no one in here was happy with that last game. I don’t think we can blame anything on any particular guy; it was a team effort. We played horrible, but tonight I think he deserved more and better.”
In a 37-save performance, one of Howard’s most important stops of the night came just under five minutes in the first period. Both Red Wings defensemen got caught behind the net, and Howard came up with a big save on a shot by Chris Kreider to keep the game scoreless.
Holding on to a 1-0 lead, Howard kept the Rangers off the scoreboard for most of the second period, allowing only one goal on 16 shots.
“Howie was great,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock. “He gave us a chance, especially in the second period.”
Howard’s most acrobatic save came midway through the second period, as he rejected a series of shots from Brian Boyle. Boyle’s first shot rebounded right back to the center, and as he prepared to take another, Derek Dorsett slid into the goal disrupting Howard. But the goaltender reached back over Dorsett’s body to deflect Boyle’s second shot with his blocker.
Despite the strong performance, the second star of the game couldn’t hide his frustration after the loss.
“Something has to be done about it,” Howard said. “It’s just believing in each other and not trying to do too much, let guys do their jobs. It’s frustrating. We lost with 12 seconds left in overtime. Once again we didn’t really play 60 minutes and lost.”
Howard will have another chance to bounce back as the Red Wings prepare for a trip to western Canada and four straight away games, starting Wednesday when the Vancouver Canucks hosts Detroit.
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