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Howard dazzles, stops 51 shots

Rookie is first Wings' goalie to face as many shots in 21 years

Friday, 01.8.2010 / 1:06 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Howard dazzles, stops 51 shots
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From the open minute Thursday, Los Angeles snipers pelted Jimmy Howard with a unmerciful barrage of quality scoring chances.

Nine different Kings had at least three shots on goal, and their stars – Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown – combined for 44 percent of the team’s shot total.

Playing more like a hall-of-famer than a rookie, the Red Wings goalie stopped all but one of 52 shots, en route to Detroit’s 2-1 victory at StaplesCenter.

“He was huge,” Wings defenseman Brad Stuart said. “He may have stolen a couple of points for us. He played well, but we sat back a little too much, especially in the third.”

The Kings’ 52 shots is the most fired at a Wings goaltender since the Blackhawks bombarded Greg Stefan with 53 shots in a 4-4 tie at Chicago Stadium on Feb. 26, 1989.

Thursday’s shot total is the most Howard has ever faced in regulation at any level of competition. Though, as a college junior at Maine, he stopped 63 shots in a 2-1 triple overtime win over Massachusetts in the Hockey East championship.

“That had a little more drama,” Howard said.

As a backup to Chris Osgood at the beginning of the season, Howard has been miraculous in his first full-season with the Wings. Out of necessity, he was thrust into a starting role, and in November, the Syracuse, NY., native even won the Carharrt Hardest Working Player of the Month Award for posting a 6-2-0 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in the month.

Howard, 25, is also among the NHL leading goalies with a .927 save percentage (fifth) and 2.19 GAA (eighth) this season. There’s even been talk of him being among the rookies candidates for the Calder Trophy.

With the Wings fighting for playoff position, they desperately needed a win against the Kings, who began the evening with a four-point cushion on Detroit in the Western Conference standings.

“It’s been awhile since a goalie made that many saves for us,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “But in a game like this, we needed that.”

At a time Thursday, it looked like the Wings might make Dan Cleary’s first-period goal stand up as the eventual game-winner. Howard stopped all 10 first-period shots before the Kings out-shot the Wings, 27-6, in the second – setting an LA record for shots in a period. Again, Howard was spectacular, especially on a power-play when Michal Handzus fired a point-blank wrister from the slot. Then during a late-period scramble in the Wings’ crease, Howard stopped Kopitar, who had more than one whack at the puck.

“They were just firing it,” Howard said. “It was just one of those things. Guys just laid out in front and we laid it all out on the line.”

Until forward Darren Helm scored the game-winner with 17-seconds, everything was quite intense for the Wings’ goalie. Even during a late TV timeout, Howard’s teammates left him alone, reminiscent of a starting pitcher in the mist of embroiled in a no-hitter.

“They know when Ozzie and I are in the zone and they leave us alone,” Howard said. “They don’t want to mess anything up, I guess. They just let us do our thing, which is nice.”



SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80