Rookie goaltender Jim Howard stopped twenty-two shots en route to his first National Hockey League victory as his Detroit Red Wings defeated the Los Angeles Kings Monday night, 5-2.
Howard, making his first start in the NHL after backing up Manny Legace and Chris Osgood for 13 games and going unbeaten in six AHL contests this season, allowed his first career goal on a penalty shot at 7:39 of the second period.
Kirk Maltby dove to block a possible shot by the Kings’ Joe Corvo. As Maltby spun and reached with his stick to continue blocking Corvo, it was knocked out of his hands. Referee Wes McCauley quickly called Maltby for throwing his stick and awarded an automatic penalty shot to Corvo.
The Red Wings had opened the scoring at 4:03 of the second after a scoreless first period. After a long stretch of uninterrupted play while the teams went end-to-end several times, Chris Chelios took the puck in the high slot and ripped a hard shot past Los Angeles goalie Jason Labarbera.
Chelios was using one of Kirk Maltby’s sticks after trying it out during the morning skate and breaking four panes of glass with it.
Just 1:58 after LA’s penalty shot goal, Detroit regained the lead as Mathieu Schneider continued his hot streak, scoring a power play goal from the top of the right circle.
Captain Steve Yzerman, returning to the lineup after sitting out Saturday’s game in San Jose, scored the eventual game-winner with 6:17 left in the middle period. Jason Williams sent a hard shot from the top of the right circle that Yzerman tipped in the slot. The goal was scored on the power play with a delayed penalty coming against the Kings.
Henrik Zetterberg added to the Wings’ total with 4:41 remaining in the game, scoring on his own rebound while on a three-on-two with Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson.
Nicklas Lidstrom added an empty net goal off an intercepted pass at the Detroit blue line with 1:43 left.
The Kings closed out the scoring with 1:01 remaining when former Red Wing Sean Avery deflected a Nathan Dempsey shot from the point at the edge of the crease, over Howard’s shoulder.
Labarbera, also a rookie, stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.
Detroit went two-for-six on the power play while holding the Kings scoreless on their seven chances.
The Red Wings will be off until Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames.
Robert Lang left the game during the second period with a groin injury.