DETROIT – Over the last three games, the Wings have gotten some stellar play out of their two goalies, but Jimmy Howard may have turned in the gem of this young season Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
Howard stopped 45 shots to help lead Detroit past the Los Angeles Kings.
“When it comes to goaltending it’s two different games within a game,” Howard said. “Some nights you’re getting a lot of work and other nights you’re not. You just have to find ways to make saves for your guys and I was able to do that tonight.”
Twenty three of his saves came in the second period.
“They did a good job of getting on top of us and turning pucks over,” Howard said. “They just kept coming and throwing pucks at the net. We did a great job of limiting their opportunities. Pretty much they were one and done. Against a big strong team like that it’s important to keep them to the outside.”
The 45 saves is the most he’s made since making 47 against the New York Rangers on Feb. 7, 2011. His career high is 52, which he made against the Kings on Jan. 7, 2010.
“Without Jimmy we wouldn’t have a chance today,” said Jonathan Ericsson, who scored the winning goal with 4.5 seconds left in regulation. “He made some really good saves. He really kept us in the game the first two periods. We owe Jimmy this win.
“This is a will win but a lot of thanks to Howie, of course,” Ericsson continued. “I think we weren’t battling as hard as we did the previous two games. But any two points is so important in this short season.”
The Wings have now allowed just four goals against in the last three games.
Petr Mrazek began things on Thursday, allowing one goal against the St. Louis Blues. Howard followed that by letting one in Saturday against Edmonton.
“Our tenders have been phenomenal these last three games,” Ericsson said. “We have a lot to thank them for.”
“We were tired, no doubt,” Daniel Cleary said. “Howie won us the game.”
Howard credits his freshness to taking Wednesday off and sitting Thursday.
“That gave me a little extra push,” Howard said. “I felt really rested out there.”