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Howard, Wings blank Ducks 4-0

Detroit headed into Anaheim looking to make it four wins in a row and win the third of four meetings between the two teams this season. The Wings got a stellar performance out of goalie Jimmy Howard to help them take the contest. Anaheim outshot the Red Wings 41-29 but Howard's strong performance kept the Ducks off the board.

Lubomir Visnovsky tries to pass the puck out of the Anaheim zone and it hits off Franzen. Valtteri Filppula keeps it in the zone. Franzen slips to Jonas Hiller's right and Filppula's pass is too far in front of Franzen. Franzen picks it up off the boards and shoots on net. In the words of every hockey announcer ever, "Good things happen when you put the puck on net". Good things to the tune of a 1-0 lead with about a minute gone in the game.

Nicklas Lidstrom springs Pavel Datsyuk with an outlet pass with close to 6 minutes gone in the second period. Datsyuk walks the puck in and dishes the puck to Henrik Zetterberg as he comes into the zone to the left. Zetterberg carries the puck low and puts a backhand on Hiller from a bad angle but the rebound kicks out to Tomas Holmstrom and the Wings are up 2-0. Again, "good things happen when you put the puck on net".

Dan Cleary gets the third goal of the game on a shot from the point by Brian Rafalski. Cleary is screening Hiller and deflects Rafalski's shot past Hiller for the 3-0 lead in the closing minutes of the third period. Filppula added an insurance goal with about 30 seconds to play in the game. Filppula started the chance with a breakaway on Hiller that he initially saved. Filppula picks up the rebound and dishes to Franzen. Franzen goes cross-ice to Jonathan Ericsson and Ericsson gets it back to Filppula. Andy Sutton isn't really paying all that much attention and Filppula is able to get the shot on Hiller and ultimately the goal.

The win gives the Red Wings 36 points on the season in 23 games played and with a Chicago loss to Vancouver (thank you, Luongo) the Red Wings now lead the Central by 6 points and are 2 back of the Capitals for the NHL lead.

Highlights and analysis after the jump.

  • This is what happens when I fall asleep writing the recap, it goes up after the CSSI. Sorry folks.
  • Anyone else notice how incredibly loud that crowd was after DETROIT scored? Sounded more like a home game.
  • What's that Teemu, you think the Wings get more powerplay chances at the Joe? Well, it looks like the same thing goes for your team at the Honda Center, too.
  • Hell of a few saves by Hiller on Ericsson, Helm and Holmstrom at about the 13:30 mark of the first.There were chances for all three of those pucks to go in but Hiller stopped them.
  • Crazy, crazy bounce off the boards that almost snuck in on Howard. Fortunately, he paid attention and it didn't cost him.
  • Great save by Jimmy on Brandon McMillan on the break away in the first period. Ericsson and Holmstrom interfere with a Duck though and Anaheim goes on the powerplay.
  • Datsyuk goes for the stick lift and hits Paul Mara in the face. The Ducks get a 5-on-3 and Datsyuk apologizes pretty much immediately. The Wings killed off two straight penalties to close the first period, that had to have given them some momentum going into the 2nd.
  • Cleary and Zetterberg combine for a great chance early in the second period. How Hank didn't end up with a goal, I don't know. Well, I do know.
  • Ericsson just flatout looks more confident out there. He's stepping up in shooting lanes instead of lingering back, he's making plays on the puck instead of plays on the player, and he's playing heads up in the offensive zone.He was a +3 on the night with an assist and 19:26 in ice-time. I like and will take this Ericsson every night.
  • I love Larry Murphy.
  • Jimmy just has these games where you can tell from the start pretty much that he'll be on fire. He's out challenging shots, moving well in the crease, seeing the puck well, making some spectacular saves. In short: he comes out with a boatload of confidence.
  • Hank's assist on Holmstrom's goal was his 500th career point for Detroit. He's now 12th all-time for Detroit, 46 behind John Ogrodnick and 70 behind Pavel Datsyuk.
  • Howard's win ties him for 15th all-time in Detroit with Mike Vernon, and in 4 fewer games.
  • How about the play from the second line tonight? Filppula and Franzen both had a goal and an assist each and Bertuzzi was pretty solid as well.
  • I can't decide what I like better, Dan Cleary on the top line or Tomas Holmstrom on the top line. They both have some great work on that line and both are capable of producing. I think the solution is pretty much what Babcock already is doing: rotating them and giving them both chances.