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Howard, Red Wings shut down Oilers

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings aren't giving up a lot of goals these days, so they're winning a lot of hockey games.

Jimmy Howard made 22 saves for his 13th career shutout and the Red Wings beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton and Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit (12-8-4).

"This last run we've had we've played way better defensively than we have," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

The Red Wings have allowed only eight goals in their past seven games (5-1-1) and didn't allow a goal in the first two periods for the fifth consecutive game.

"They're a very good gapping team in the neutral zone," Edmonton's Taylor Hall said. "There's not a lot of room out there. It seems like someone always has a stick on you."

The shutout was Howard's second of the season.

"I think we're playing well as a team," Howard said. "We're doing a lot of great things. We've been playing real well for a while now and focusing on the details and doing the little things right. ... There's no duplication. There's a lot of talk in our own zone right now.

"Guys are trusting one another to do their jobs, and second efforts and blocking shots."

Devan Dubnyk stopped 25 shots for Edmonton (8-10-5), which is winless in four games (0-3-1).

"It's disappointing. We've got to find a way to do it," Dubnyk said.

Kindl opened the scoring 3:16 into the second period when he was battling for the puck in the slot with Edmonton's Chris VandeVelde and it was propelled toward the Edmonton net before trickling through Dubnyk's pads. It was Kindl's second goal of the season.

Emmerton made it 2-0 with 7:41 left in the second period when he put in a snap shot from the slot that beat Dubnyk high on the stick side for his second goal of the season. It came after the Red Wings had sustained pressure in the Oilers' zone. Emmerton took a pass from Drew Miller just after Emmerton came off the bench.

"Pavel (Datsyuk) broke his stick. It was the end of a shift," Emmerton said. "He changed and Millsy made a heads-up play there to get it to me in the middle. Just tried to make a good shot there."

Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said his team had played good defense until Kindl's goal but lost its structure and focus after that.

"There's no excuses for this one," Krueger said. "You cannot stop playing for 10 minutes against the Detroit Red Wings and expect to get points."

Abdelkader added an empty-net goal with 1:10 left. It was his first goal of the season, despite playing on a line with Datsyuk recently, and his first in 37 games.

"Long time coming. It feels like I haven't scored in about five years," Abdelkader said. "Sometimes it's those kind of goals, maybe off your body or whatever parts that will get you going. I felt good. I had some chances. Hopefully, I get a few more breaks here."

Detroit outshot Edmonton 8-6 in the first period in which Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey hit the goal post on a slap shot from the high slot.

NOTES: Oilers cener Ales Hemsky took a shot off a foot and had to leave the game. Krueger said X-rays showed no break but "probably dealing with some day-to-day bruise." ... The NHL Players' Association approved the league's proposed realignment, which would begin with the 2013-14 season. The realignment would move Detroit from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings' organization has long lobbied to be moved to the Eastern Conference, where they would play Original Six rivals Toronto, Montreal, Boston and the New York Rangers more often. The only other Original Six team in the Western Conference is the Chicago Blackhawks. The realignment now only has to be voted on by the NHL Board of Governors. ... Edmonton left winger Lennart Petrell missed his fourth game with a head injury. ... Detroit forward Valtteri Filppula missed his fifth game with a shoulder injury. ... Red Wings defenseman Ian White was a healthy scratch for the fifth consecutive game. ... It was the sixth game of a nine-game road trip for the Oilers. ... Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry is from suburban Detroit and is the son of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dan Petry, who was at the game.
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