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At the Rink blog

Howard a fan when it comes to shootouts

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 10:18 AM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Howard a fan when it comes to shootouts
The shootout is a bit of a polarizing topic among goalies.

They either like the excitement or dislike the fact that  of the hard work they put in to get to that point comes down to a contest of breakaways. Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is among those who enjoy it.

"I don't mind it," he said of shootouts, following a 3-2 win in the breakaways contest on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. "It's fun. It's fun for the fans. It's intense. You can just see by the reaction of the fans how much they enjoy it. It's just about being patient as a goalie, let them run out of room and have to make a move and just push the puck. It's working on it in practice. It's also having fun out there."

It's also a good thing for the Wings that Howard has that kind of outlook about it.

Heading into Monday night's Central Division showdown with the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena, the Wings have won four of their last six games in shootouts, including their last three in a row. They've also been in five shootouts this season and triumphed in every one -- four won by Howard and one by backup Ty Conklin.

In his four victories, Howard has allowed just two goals, which doesn't surprise his teammates.

"We face him in practice all the time and we know he's a really good goalie when it comes to shootouts," said Valtteri Filppula, who clinched Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets by roofing a wrister past Curtis Sanford. "I think it definitely gives us confidence if we score. It always gives us a good chance to win and (Saturday night) was a good example of that."

In that one, Howard made saves against three Blue Jackets shooters and waited out power forward Rick Nash -- who lost the puck as he was going to shoot, with the puck sliding wide of the net. Each save that Howard made, the home crowd got louder and more into the shootout.

Filppula said each save has the same effect on the Wings' bench.

"There's a lot of good shooters on the (opposing) teams and he makes really good saves," Filppula said. "It definitely pumps up the team and we really want to win those games."

If Monday night's game goes to the breakaways, however, the opposing goalie will be the red-hot Jaroslav Halak, who’s 11-0-3 in his last 13 starts and within two more games of tying the team record for consecutive games without a regulation loss.

However, Halak's been in net for all six of the Blues' shootouts and won just one -- allowing five goals.

Here is a look at how the Blues and Red Wings might line up on Monday night:

BLUES

David Perron - David Backes - TJ Oshie
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Mike Commodore

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin
Quote of the Day

The biggest part for us is that it's a home game. We know how special the fans here are and how much the fan base has grown in the last decade, and how passionate they are. I don't think a lot of people around the hockey world know that or appreciate that yet, and I think that it's great that this city is getting recognition for how passionate they are about hockey.

— Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic