Carrying over from his performance in the Winter Classic, Jimmy Howard once again stood on his head, stopping the game’s first 12 shots.
Although a seemingly low number, the Dallas Stars were challenging Howard with strategic play and a boost of energy that the Wings were not able to keep up with. That was until Henrik Zetterberg had a say in the matter.
“It’s important because it got us off on the right foot here on this road trip,” Howard said.
“It wasn’t pretty by any means but we found a way. We capitalized on our chances here tonight and our captain as good tonight too.”
After a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Howard and the Detroit Red Wings understood that they needed to play at the top of their game.
The Dallas Stars’ head coach had some words about Howard’s performance.
“He made some real good saves,” coach Lindy Ruff said of Howard.
“There were a couple that I thought we could have had better traffic in front of him. We missed the net on some.”
Gustav Nyquist had a strong game, keeping the puck moving around and contributing in both a presence of leadership and play in the offensive zone. The other younger units of the Red Wings team, that help in the time of struggles, all found their way onto the scoreboard.
Joakim Andersson made the game 2-1 after Dallas answered late in the first period. Just 14 seconds later, Drew Miller scored another goal on Dallas goaltender, Dan Ellis.
When the second period started, the Stars had made a change in net. They brought in Kari Lehtonen to try and level out the scoring chances and bring a stop to the Red Wings.
Tomas Tatar made a beautiful move through the neutral zone and pushed Brenden Dillon into a Dallas forward that was also trying to halt the speedy Tatar. After cutting the defense, he made a nice backhand move past Lehtonen to put the Red Wings up 4-1, which carried to the end of the second period.
“I thought (Tatar) and Nyquist were real good players for us tonight,” Red Wings head coach Mike babcock said.
“Zetterberg and Kronwall provided excellent leadership, so it was a good night for our team.”
Red Wings forward Drew Miller has found himself at the top of the Wings’ scoring leaders for the month of December, with six points and a rating of +1.
“We needed a game like this,” Miller said.
“We’ve had a lot of close games that we’ve lost or just not finding a way to get it done. Tonight was one we kept going and kept going. We played 60 minutes and got contributions from a lot of different guys, so it was big for us.”
The Detroit Red Wings will play in San Jose, for their second of a five-game road trip on Thursday, January 9 at 10:30 p.m.
* * *
Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.
For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at www.impact89fm.org/sports
Austin Goodman is the host of Octopi Hockeytown for Impact Sports.
DET – 7:04 – H. Zetterberg (Wrist) Unassisted
DAL – 12:47 SHG – R. Peverley (Wrist) (S. Horcoff)
DET – 18:05 – J. Andersson (Wrist) (K. Quincey)
DET – 18:19 – D. Miller (Tip-in) (J. Abdelkader)
DET – 11:57 – T. Tatar (Backhand) Unassisted
DET – 12:39 – H. Zetterberg (Slap) (D. Cleary)
First: Jimmy Howard
(45SA, 1GA, .978 SV%, 33-33EV, 10-10PP, 1-2SH)
Second: Henrik Zetterberg
(2G, +2, 4 shots, 18:26 TOI)
Third: Tomas Tatar
(1G, +1, 3 shots, 10:46 TOI)