Jimmy Howard earned his first career shutout as the Red Wings defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 on Thursday night. But the win came after a huge loss as Henrik Zetterberg was injured on a collision with Swedish teammate Mattias Ohlund. Zetterberg's long term status is unknown as of now and leaves the Red Wings without 9 regulars...9 I said.
Zetterberg was injured in the first period while reaching for a stray pass from Ville Leino. Zetterberg was outstretched and the much larger Ohlund put his shoulder into Zetterberg--a clean hit by all means--and dropped him to the ice. Patrick Eaves took immediate exception to the play (finally, someone standing up) and was shoving Ohlund along the boards.
The Wings scored at 8:24 of the first as Drew Miller and Brian Rafalski combined for a great goal. Miller came off the bench and Rafalski spotted him from deep in the defensive zone and chucked a puck up ice that Miller knocked down to have a breakaway against Tampa Bay's goalie Mike Smith. Smith went for the poke check and Miller flipped it up over just before the attempt to score his 4th of the year, also coming against his former team. Take that TB front office!
Todd Bertuzzi continued his recent hot streak by scoring his 9th goal of the year during the 3rd period. The play started with a Pavel Datsyuk trademarked offensive zone takeaway. Datsyuk got it to Tomas Holmstrom and Holmstrom's pass was tipped in by Bertuzzi for a 2-0 Detroit lead at 6:48 of the third. Patrick Eaves tapped a Nick Lidstrom pass in behind Mike Smith for a 3-0 lead with 9:10 remaining; more than enough with the way the Howard was playing.
The Detroit win was also head coach Mike Babcock's 300th career win. Along with Howard's first career shutout, the two accomplishments were overshadowed by yet another injury. More on the injury to Zetterberg as it is made known. Howard's shutout marked his 11th win of the year as he stopped all 30 Tampa Bay shots. His GAA is creeping down with his great performances lately and he has won 6 of the last 8 games he started.
MrNorrisTrophy's Wing of the Game: Jimmy Howard. Howie played great in net tonight, stopping every single Tampa Bay shot. He stonewalled excellent scorers like Vinny Lecavlier and Alex Tanguay. The confidence train is a-rollin' for Jimmy.