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Howard earns 12th career shut out

Red Wings' goalie shots all 33 shots in 4-0 win over Nashville

Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 10:43 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Howard earns 12th career shut out

Jimmy Howard makes one of his 33 saves in posting his first shut out of the season in a 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – They had to have it.

Riding a dubious five-game winless streak into Saturday’s game with Central Division rival Nashville, the heat was on for Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings.

“We put everything to rest there,” Howard said. “Things weren’t going our way. We weren’t really paying attention to detail, and tonight we got the performance from every single one of us.”

With goals from four different players and a 33 save performance by Howard, the Red Wings posted a 4-0 victory against the Predators.

The Red Wings built a 2-0 lead Saturday, but 2-0 leads haven’t actually been all that kind to Detroit this season. The Wings are now 4-3-0 when taking a 2-0 lead.

“When you haven't won, it doesn't matter what the score is, the lead's never safe,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It's just a confidence thing. Confidence in pro sports comes and goes in a hurry, so this is a big win for us today.”

The Wings can certainly enjoy the win, but in less than 22 hours they will welcome in one of the league’s top teams when the Vancouver Canucks visit Joe Louis Arena.

Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar, Niklas Kronwall and Daniel Cleary all scored for the Wings, who improved their season record to 8-7-3.

The shutout was Howard’s first of the season and 12th of his career. Meanwhile, it was the sixth time in 21 career games against Detroit, that Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has surrendered four or more goals in a game.

Other than his spectacular second-period outing against the Los Angeles Kings two weeks ago, it may have been Howard’s best overall game of the season. But he didn’t feel comfortable in accepting all of the kudos.

“Shut outs are sort of … they get credited to the goalie, but they’re more of a team aspect,” Howard said. “I think it’s more of a team stat.”

But Howard definitely wanted that goose egg, which was almost spoiled late when Predators winger Patric Hornqvist moved in for a point blank shot. But Howard flashed a leg pad and kicked the puck to safety.

“To be honest, the thing that flashed in my mind was ‘There goes the shut out,’ ” Howard said, with a laugh. “It was just a last ditch effort, trying to get a piece of the equipment on the puck.”

But Howard was no joke to his teammates.

“I thought he played a great game,” said Cleary, whose power-play goal capped the scoring at 11:48 of the third period. “We count on him to play like that every night and he does. I think the save at the end, big toe save, was huge. He wanted the shutout and he earned it.”

NOTEBOOK: The CBC’s Elliotte Friedman suggested Saturday night that realignment is back on the table, and that the Red Wings are headed back to the Eastern Conference in a four conference alignment.

According to Friedman, the Wings would be in “Conference 2” along with Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto.

As news of this latest proposal spread through the Wings’ dressing room, players were genuinely excited for the change.

“Us going to the East, that would be a no-brainer,” Kronwall said. “Home-and-home with each team, if that's the case, would be great for the game. That way all the fans get to see the Crosbys, the Datsyuks and the Zetterbergs.”

Less travel and fewer sleepier mornings for Wings’ fans is also a key component to the proposal, Howard said.

“We’ve traveled back and forth, across the United States quite a bit,” he said. “To move to the Eastern I think that would be a lot of fun to play a lot of games in the Eastern Time Zone. It would be great for our fans too, not having to stay up until all hours of the night to watch us.”

THREE STARS: 3, Drew Miller, DET (1 goal); 2, Niklas Kronwall, DET (1 goal, 2 assists); 1, Jimmy Howard, DET (33 saves).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89