After dropping a 4-1 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday with Valtteri Filppula scoring Detroit’s lone goal, the Wings stole a 2-1 win against a hot Los Angeles team Thursday night in LA. Rookie netminder Jimmy Howard earned his seventh straight start last night because head coach Mike Babcock believed Howard gave the Wings the best chance to win those two points needed in the standings. Babcock was spot on with Howard finishing the game as the first star of the game, stopping 51 shots and stealing the “W” for Detroit.
In his first game back from a shoulder injury, forward Dan Cleary popped in a rebound as he was camped just outside the crease with :00.2 left in the opening period to grab a 1-0 lead. The goal marked his first since Dec. 9 and came after he logged 4:47 minutes of ice time in his return to the lineup. In the second period, Detroit got outshot 27-6 and that continued into the third frame. But with 17.3 seconds remaining in the game, a fantastic effort by grinder Darren Helm returned the lead to Detroit and the Wings amazingly gutted out a win.
Thanks to the late 10:30 p.m. EST start and blog scheduling concerns, Hockeytown Blog will point you to a few game previews rather than the usual recap link roundups:
- Kyle of Babcock’s Death Stare interviewed the blogger behind The Royal Half (a blog about the Kings) to gear up for the Wings’ game.
- Matt of On the Wings also had some pregame notes before the start of the contest.
- Motown Wings emphasized the importance of Thursday’s game in the context of the Western Conference standings, which Abel to Yzerman also reiterated.
- Winging It In Motown and The Production Line broke down the key story lines heading into the game.
- Kris of Snipe Snipe, Dangle Dangle jokingly references a memo from the ‘hockey gods.’
In Other News
- On the same day that the Wings welcome forwards Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg back to their lineup, Detroit lost Tomas Holmstrom — the team’s leading goal scorer with 15 markers this season — to a broken foot for 3-4 weeks according to MLive.com, The Detroit News, and the Detroit Free Press.
- MLive.com points out Detroit’s power-play woes, stating “the Red Wings are 2-for-39 on the power play (5.1 percent) in their past 11 games.”
- Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reminds Wings’ fans of the success that the team has found with Jimmy Howard in between the pipes: “This is the same little fellow most people thought looked shaky in October. Anyone look at the NHL goalie stats lately? That’s Mr. Howard sitting in the top 10 in both goals-against average (2.23) and save percentage (.923).”
- Nightmare on Helm Street posted its midseason review for Detroit’s forwards.
- Wings’ blog Babcock’s Death Stare took some time to talk about Team USA taking home the gold medal during the World Junior Championship on Tuesday. Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins prospect Brian Lashoff was a 19-year-old defenseman on the team, which won gold in a 6-5 OT win over Canada (in Saskatchewan, Canada).