Howard's 51 Saves Helps Wings Beat Kings 2-1

For a team that had given up 37 or more shots in a game once this season, giving up 37 through two periods looked brutal.

Yet, despite a stellar performance, Jimmy Howard letting a Ryan Smyth deflection past him with 4:22 left in regulation seemed to be an even bigger dagger into the hearts of the Detroit Red Wings.

But a brilliant play by Darren Helm with just 18 seconds left restored all that's right with the Red Wings world, allowing them to escape from Los Angeles with two points in regulation with a 2-1 win over the Kings.

Indeed, a Detroit team that has struggled with offense did so again tonight, trying to keep a Dan Cleary goal be the margin of difference.

Cleary, who missed 12 games with an injury, returned to the lineup tonight along with Henrik Zetterberg.

The Wings clearly looked out of sorts on multiple levels tonight, with five penalties (including a pair on perennial Lady Bing candidate Pavel Datsyuk) and only 24 shots.

But just after a penalty to Drew Doughty expired, Valtteri Filppula's shot in front of Jonathan Quick went through his legs and across the crease. Cleary was sitting on the other side, and had one of the easier goals of his life, putting it in from about 18 inches. Considering Cleary has been out for 12 games, he was sharp in earning his eighth goal of the season.

After a scoreless second period, Dustin Brown took advantage of a Todd Bertuzzi penalty to put a puck on the net. It went wide, but Smyth had the right spot to swat the puck out of the air on the 51st shot of the night for the Kings. It was Smyth's 13th of the season, with Jarret Stoll picking up the other assist.

The Kings would have only one more shot. With just 18 seconds remaining in regulation, Helm skated towards Quick and put the puck between Quick and the goal post to get his seventh goal of the season.

The Red Wings head to San Jose Saturday night to face the Sharks.

Player Of The Game: Jimmy Howard. His one goal allowed was on a power play. He faced 52 shots, made a number of beautiful saves, and further cemented his spot as the number one goaltender on this team.

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