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Breakdown: Canucks-Red Wings

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings

With the game all knotted up at one goal apiece, the Wings got a spark from one of their offensive leader.  Henrik Zetterberg exploded up the ice, and took a long pass from Brad Stuart just outside the Vancouver zone.  Using his speed, Zetterberg got in behind the Canucks’ defense, and headed in alone on goaltender Roberto Luongo.  Zetterberg pulled the puck to his backhand, getting Luongo to flop to the ice.  Then, he roofed the puck, rattling Luongo’s water bottle as the Wings took the lead.  Zetterberg’s game-winner was his fifth of the season.

Zetterberg had the game-winner, but goaltender Jimmy Howard was the Wings’ MVP tonight.  Coming off a 9-1 win last night in Columbus, Howard once again started for a sick Chris Osgood.  And he didn’t disappoint.   The Wings’ young netminder turned aside 31 shots to pick up the 3-1 win.   Fifteen of those saves came in the first period, as Howard kept the Wings in the game as they looked to find their legs. It was Howard’s first back-to-back wins on consecutive nights.  Howard also added another feat to his resume, as he picked up his first NHL point when he assisted on Niklas Kronwall’s empty-netter.

The Wings welcomed a new face to their roster tonight, as Drew Miller played in his first game as a Red Wing.  The former MSU Spartan and East Lansing native was claimed off waivers yesterday, and was ready to go tonight.  He played 11:33, and a lot of that time was with his former Spartan teammate Justin Abdelkader.  He picked up one shot, one hit, one takeaway, and one blocked shot on the night.  Miller brought a lot of energy to the line-up, and he looked well in the Winged Wheel.

Howard and the Wings held the Canucks at bay as well as they could on the penalty kill Thursday night.   With the exception of Mason Raymond’s fluke goal off his skate, the Wings shut down the Canucks’ power-play units.  Vancouver went 1-5 on the power play, including 0-1 on four-on-three and five-on-three opportunities.

After the game, Howard weighed in on filling in for Osgood, and what it's like to play on back-to-back nights.  Here's what he had to say:

"Last night on the plane I knew Chris was feeling a little bit under the weather, so goalie coach Jim Bedard told me to get ready, so I just started preparing on the plane like I was playing today."

"You have to come prepared, and you have to come focused.  Every single night you have to come ready to play and for a goalie playing, you just have to outplay the goalie at the other end."

Tonight was Steve Yzerman night, as the Wings honored their former captain just days after he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Yzerman walked out to a thunderous roar from the Joe Louis Arena crowd for a ceremonial face-off, and throughout the night the Wings played tribute videos.  It was a great sight to see so many ‘19’ jerseys walking around the concourse. 

The Wings host Anaheim on Saturday in the second game of a four-game homestand at Joe Louis Arena. Buy tickets to Saturday's game by CLICKING HERE.

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