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A Milestone Night

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Jimmy Howard makes one of his 23 saves while earning his 100th career win in Thursday's 3-2 shoot-out win over Phoenix. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
Jimmy Howard hit a daily double, or sorts, Thursday.


First, the Red Wings’ goalie learned that he had indeed been selected to play in his first NHL All-Star Game, which takes place later this month in Ottawa. Then he celebrated that news by collecting career win No. 100 a few hours later at Joe Louis Arena.

“It doesn't get any better than that. What a great day. It's been awesome,” said Howard, who stopped 23 shots in a 3-2 shoot-out win over Phoenix. “I think the highlight of my day was probably when I woke-up from my nap and my little guy had a T-shirt on that said, 'My Daddy Rocks.’ ”

Howard has been a solid rock of confidence for the Wings all season. Despite leading the league with 25 wins, Howard has stepped up in crucial moments to make outstanding saves all season.

“A goalie's only as good as the team in front of him,” he said. “I'm very lucky to be able to play behind these guys, play behind a great team, I think that's why I've been able to progress at my own rate and coming into this season I felt like I could take more on my plate and be more of a game-changer for the guys.”

Howard is the fourth fastest Wings’ goalie to reach 100 NHL wins, doing so in 171 career games, behind Chris Osgood (158), Manny Legace (163) and hall-of-famer Terry Sawchuk (165).

In all, nine goalies have compiled at least 100 wins in a Wings’ uniform, including Harry Lumley (317), Roger Crozier (163), Tim Cheveldae (128), Greg Stefan (115), and Dominik Hasek (114).

Not to be outdone, but Thursday’s outcome also produced milestones for coach Mike Babcock and forward Danny Cleary, who collected his 200th career assist on Johan Franzen’s third-period goal.

Babcock became the third fastest coach – and 27th overall – in league history to 400 career wins. And Saturday, Babcock will become the 37th league coach to reach 700 career games coached.

“It's no different than Howie for wins or Cleary with assists,” said Babcock of his milestone night. “They're marks you think about later in life and you look at and can be proud of. It's hard to even coach long enough in this league to get 400 wins and to be in that company of those with you.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill



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