Goaltending, the power play and even the penalty kill all came together for Detroit in a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night.
“The guys helped me out a lot,” said Howard, who was promoted from Grand Rapids of the AHL. “They came back hard, broke up odd-man rushes and they cleared a lot of rebounds. … I’m 21 years old and playing my first game in the National Hockey League. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Detroit boasts the top power play in the NHL, and has converted 7 of 21 opportunities over the last four games. Mathieu Schneider and Steve Yzerman each scored with the man advantage against the Kings while defenseman Chris Chelios broke a 57-game scoring drought with his second-period goal.
The Red Wings had struggled on the penalty kill, allowing at least one power-play goal in their previous 14 games, before holding the Kings scoreless (0-for-7) on the man advantage.
“It’s just nice to kind of stop the bleeding in that area and finally put a zero up there,” left wing Kirk Maltby said. “They didn’t get a lot of second and third chances. … Hopefully, we can play a little better on the penalty kill, because specialty teams now are huge in the success of teams.”
Calgary has lost two straight games after winning 10 of 11, including Tuesday’s 2-0 setback to Nashville.
Calgary, which averages just 2.38 goals per game, outshot the Predators 31-17 but went 0-for-6 on the power play.
“They did a good job killing and any chance we did get, (Tomas) Vokoun was there,” Flames winger Darren McCarty said.
Detroit is the second stop on Calgary’s five-game road trip, which also includes visits to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Jersey. The Flames have struggled to a 4-7-1 record on the road this season, allowing 3.42 goals per game away from home.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 30): Flames - 31 points, 2nd place (tied), 3 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 38 points, 1st place, Central Division.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 30): Flames - Power play: 14.9 percent (24 for 161), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 81 percent (124 for 153), 21st. Red Wings - Power play: 25.0 percent (38 for 152), 1st. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (135 for 160), 8th (tied).
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 16; Flames, 3-1. At Calgary, Tony Amonte had a goal and an assist while Kiprusoff made 21 saves to lead the Flames to victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 4-7-1 on the road; Red Wings - 9-3-1 at home.