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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  - 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

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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