Jimmy Howard made 21 saves Friday night, stopping every shot he faced as the Detroit Red Wings opened their season with a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
It was the fourth shutout of Howard’s career.
It was one of several stories of the game. In addition to the shutout, Michigan native Mike Modano scored in his first game with Detroit. If that weren’t enough, Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk picked up a goal, and assist and a fight for a Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.
Modano’s goal came at 5:35 of the first period. Jiri Hudler and Brad Stuart worked the puck along the left wing boards and got it to Dan Cleary in the slot. Cleary fought off two defenders to get the puck back to Modano, who rifled a shot past Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller.
The goal came 24 seconds after Johan Franzen had opened the game’s scoring. Franzen and Valtteri Filppula worked the puck on the right side of the ice before Franzen snapped it past Hiller from an acute angle.
Datsyuk scored his goal at 5:29 of the second period. Henrik Zetterberg fired a shot from the top of the right circle intentionally wide of the net and Datsyuk was there to redirect it past Hiller to make it 3-0.
Dan Cleary scored the game’s final goal on a controversial play with 3:05 left in the second. He drove to the net to bang home the rebound of a Datsyuk shot, only for him to crash into the goal, carrying the puck with him.
Video review concluded that the puck cross the goal line before Cleary fully knocked the net off its moorings, overruling the on-ice call of no-goal.
The game got chippy in the third period. With Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf already being called for slashing, he continued roughing Zetterberg. Datsyuk and Corey Perry entered the scrum and ended up pairing off for just Datsyuk’s second career fight.
George Parros tried to fight Dan Cleary several minutes later, then Sheldon Brookbank and Brad Stuart fought in the game’s closing minutes.
The Ducks ended up with 32 penalty minutes in the third for a game total of 46 while the Red Wings had 14 penalty minutes in the final period for a total of 26.
Neither team scored a power play goal in the game, with Detroit getting six tries with the extra attacker – including an extended five-on-three – and Anaheim getting one.
Hiller finished the night with 39 saves on 43 Detroit shots.
The Red Wings now travel to Chicago for the Blackhawks’ home opener on Saturday. Faceoff is expected to be 9:00 after the banner-raising ceremony for Chicago’s 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.
Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson left the game in the second period with back spasms. He did not return and will be replaced in the lineup by Jakub Kindl for Saturday’s game.