Howard Solid Again as Red Wings Fall to Penguins in Shootout

Jimmy Howard stopped 46 shots for the second consecutive game but this time the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t pull out a win, falling in a shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon.

After a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators in which Howard stopped 46 of 48 shots, the Penguins picked up a 2-1 win despite Howard allowing only a goal on 47 chances. Pittsburgh scored on two of three shootout attempts while the Red Wings missed on two tries in the tiebreaker.

The Penguins carried the play in the first two periods but their only goal came with 3:14 left in the second, when Alex Goligoski fed a wide-open Sidney Crosby on the left wing. Crosby skated in on Howard, faked around him, and put it into the open side of the net.

Danny Cleary tied the game for Detroit with 8:50 left in regulation, tipping a Brad Stuart blast past Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scored the only goals of the shootout.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Detroit had five tries with the extra attacker – including a four-on-three to end the overtime period – while Pittsburgh had three.

Fleury stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced.

The Red Wings were without Tomas Holmstrom, whose return from injury was delayed at least one more game.

Red Wings – Penguins Postgame Notes

After thinking about this for most of the day, there are a few things from today’s loss that are sticking with me.

The Red Wings absolutely survived this one. It was in Pittsburgh’s hands all game and Detroit just held on enough to get the point. It was a much-needed point but the problem is two-points were much-needed as well.

The offense and defense are still not communicating, leading to some awful turnovers on clearing attempts. Either that or the blueliners are just being stupid. Since the latter has never been a problem before, I lean towards the former being the issue.

Had the Wings been able to clear their own zone more efficiently the offense might have had a chance to get going but as it was there were probably only two or three memorable shifts in the Penguins’ zone. Thankfully one yielded a goal or we’d be talking about another game where the Wings didn’t even get a point.

Jimmy Howard continues to stand on his head… in the game itself. In the gimmick he’s a mess. I know it’s an unpopular opinion and I don’t think we have much better of an option but I have no faith in Howard once it comes to the shootout. He commits too early and gets burned on the deke. This isn’t a problem if Detroit wins in regulation but that’s been an issue of late.

I also question Mike Babcock‘s strategy in the shootout. Jason Williams as the second shooter? If you’re going to move Henrik Zetterberg out of that spot, Todd Bertuzzi has to go second. He’s earned that with his shootout performance this season, even if Williams was part of the shootout go-to group before he got hurt.

That there are things to take away from this loss at all make it better than the one to Minnesota a few nights ago.

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