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Howard earns NHL recognition

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – It’s the best stretch of his young NHL career, and Monday afternoon goalie Jimmy Howard was recognized for his recent outstanding play when he was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week.

“It’s a nice honor, but a lot of my success has been coming from how good the team has been playing in front of me,” said Howard, who posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.33 goals-against average and .948 save percentage as the Wings climbed to fifth place in the Western Conference last week.

Howard allowed just four goals in the last four games, and pitched home shutouts against over Anaheim and Edmonton, 5-0 and 3-0, respectively.

Boston forward Tyler Seguin is this week's First Star, and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews was named the Third Star.

In three wins last week, Howard stopped 73 of 77 shots beginning with 24 saves in a 5-2 win over Colorado. He followed up the win over the Avalanche by posting his eighth career shutout with 24 saves against the Oilers, and he finished the week by making 25 saves in a 5-2 win over Dallas.

Howard is now 8-3-1 with a 1.66 GAA, and a .934 save percentage. He’s tied for third in league wins behind Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (12) and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury (9), and he’s tied for the league-lead in shutouts with Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.

Even in the Wings’ recent six-game winless streak, Howard was perhaps the best player on the ice, allowing just seven goals in four games.

Coach Mike Babcock was genuinely excited that his young goaltender was recognized by the league.

“It's a real compliment to him and real compliment to our team,” Babcock said. “I always like when a goalie gets an award like that because goaltending is way easier to do when your team plays right.”

In his last four games, Howard has allowed just four goals, which is the lowest four-game goal total of his NHL career since he surrendered five goals in four games in late March 2010.

“I’m not doing anything different, that’s the great part,” Howard said. “I can’t say that I’ve changed anything technique-wise, but I am a lot of patient, concentrating on the good times of being aggressive and the good times to sitting back and reading the play a little more than coming out fast on top of guys and taking the net away.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill
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