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Trending: Howard stellar again as Wings beat Canucks

But Ryan Miller delivers save of the night to deny Henrik Zetterberg an empty-net goal

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT - It wasn't necessarily the prettiest win of the season for the Red Wings but they'll certainly take it.

After overcoming their 19-year curse in Philadelphia, the Wings returned home and defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 3-1.

The Wings are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games against the Canucks.

1. Jimmy Howard : Although the Wings took the lead 32 seconds into the game and had a 2-0 lead after one period, goaltender Jimmy Howard did not get the night off against a struggling Vancouver team. Howard had to make 36 saves, the fourth time in seven games he has had to save 30 or more shots. Howard came into the game leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage and that did not change as he lowered his goals-against average to 1.22 from 1.26 and bettered his save percentage to .961 from .958.

Quotable: "I feel good out there. It's fun. It's just going out there and not worrying about anything else and just playing. I'm not trying to overdo anything. I'm trying to get to a spot, I'm not trying to be flying out of the crease and being as aggressive as I used to, I'm just trying to get my feet set underneath me and that seems to be working." - Howard

2. Henrik Zetterberg : Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg went three games without a point but has six in his last five, including two assists against the Canucks. Zetterberg assisted on Dylan Larkin's and Brendan Smith's first-period goals. The two assists gave Zetterberg 10 points for the season, tying him for the team lead with Gustav Nyquist and Mike Green.

Quotable: "Howard saves us again. Goaltending. I thought we had a good start, got the goal early but then we started to play a little too cute, let them back in the game. A little bit too stubborn with turnovers again. You can't do that against this team." - Zetterberg

3. Andreas Athanasiou: Against Philadelphia, Athanasiou was the star of the game for scoring the game-tying goal and then the shootout winner. Things did not go as well for Athanasiou against the Canucks. At 16:08 of the first period, Vancouver defenseman Nikita Tryamkin hit Athanasiou along the boards. Athanasiou was slow getting off the ice and appeared to be favoring his left leg. Early in the second, the Wings announced that Athanasiou would not return because of a lower-body injury.

Quotable: "I don't have an update right now. I'll know more tomorrow. Once I have that I'll let you know tomorrow." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill

4. Ryan Miller: If you haven't seen Miller's save at 18:01 of the third, you probably will on the highlight shows or you can find it on the internet. Zetterberg was aiming at an empty net as Miller was heading to the bench for the extra attacker. Miller slid across the ice and raised his glove in time to intercept Zetterberg's shot. Howard said he even had to give Miller stick taps for that one.

Quotable: "That was fantastic. I almost counted that as a goal. I was really impressed that he even, first of all to get there and then to stretch. I think it talks about his athleticism. That was pretty impressive. I think Z wants that one back. I thought he played well. Obviously at that point it kept them in it but he's a pretty fantastic goalie in himself." - Smith

Quotable II: "I'm just sick of seeing shots go into the empty net, so I decided to go back. If Z had shot right away, I was dead, but he came across the red line to avoid icing and gave me an extra step or two. Didn't help us much." - Miller

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