Many said that Jimmy Howard had to step up his game this season to be considered an elite goaltender.
The Detroit Red Wings' netminder had not been up to par this season, especially after a 45 save outing against the Los Angeles Kings on February 10. Since then, the Wings had lost five straight games.
Howard made the fans at Joe Louis Arena forget about the bad games as he stopped all 33 shots in a 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators Saturday.
"We put everything to rest," Howard said.
The Wings had taken a 2-0 lead in three of the five previous games, only to wind up losing all of them. Howard was the main reason as he recorded his 12th career shutout.
"When you haven't won, it doesn't matter what the score is, the lead's never safe," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It's just a confidence thing. Confidence in pro sports comes and goes in a hurry, so this is a big win for us."
Drew Miller opened the scoring for the Wings at 5:11 of the first period as he beat Pekka Rinne off of a rebound for his second goal of the season.
Tomas Tatar continued his strong play by scoring his third goal of the year at 2:58 of the second period to make it 2-0. Niklas Kronwall made it 3-0 as he beat Rinne with a slap shot for his second of the year at 15:33.
Danny Cleary tipped a shot from Kronwall past Rinne on a power play at 11:48 of the third to add some insurance.
"It was big," Cleary said of his goal. "We got some guys moving and we got some shots. We were talking all day about getting more shots."
The Wings had gone 1-for-17 on the power play during the losing skid.
The Predators outshot the Red Wings 33-27, but the Wings became the second team to score more than three goals on Rinne this season. Rinne allowed four in a 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on January 28.
NOTES: Kronwall also assisted on Miller's goal, giving him three points on the night…Howard's last shutout was last March against the Minnesota Wild…The Predators were shutout in their previous game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Tags: Danny Cleary, Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Drew Miller, Hockey, Jimmy Howard, NHL, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Tatar