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Howard named AHL player of the week

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Griffins goalie Jimmy Howard has been named the American Hockey League Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 25, the league announced on Tuesday.

In two games, Howard went 2-0-0 with one shutout, a 0.94 goals against average and a .971 save percentage, denying 67 of the 69 shots he faced. After making 24 saves in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win against Toronto, he stopped a career-high 43 shots, plus all five shootout attempts, to log his 13th career shutout and earn First Star honors in Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over Quad City.

Howard is 8-3-0 over his last 11 games (Dec. 17-Jan. 24) with three shutouts, a 1.63 GAA and a 942 save percentage, having allowed two or fewer goals in each of those eight wins. During that span, he has risen dramatically from 36th to seventh in the AHL’s goaltender rankings, improving to 13-10-2 with a 2.40 GAA (7th in AHL), a .913 save percentage and three shutouts (T5th in AHL).

During Saturday’s shutout of the Flames, Howard passed current New York Islander Joey MacDonald to become the Griffins’ all-time leader in saves (now 4,275 to 4,251), marking the third statistical category in which he has claimed the top spot over MacDonald this season (167 to 164 in games played, and 9540:09 to 9208:13 in minutes played). Howard is also getting ready to pass his old teammate as the franchise’s leader in wins (88 to 82, six away) and shutouts (16 to 13, three away).

Howard becomes the second Griffin this season to win the AHL’s Player of the Week award (Francis Pare, Dec. 21) and the first player in the team’s eight AHL seasons to win it twice, following his March 20, 2006 honor. His resume also includes an AHL All-Star Classic selection in 2007-08, an AHL All-Rookie Team nod in 2005-06, and a pair of AHL Goaltender of the Month awards (Dec. 2007, March 2006).

In recognition of his achievement, Howard will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.
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