Howard has posted shutouts in three of the Red Wings’ last five games against the Ducks heading into this matchup in Anaheim.
Detroit (10-7-1) is wrapping up its fifth set of back-to-back games after winning 4-1 at Los Angeles on Saturday. Howard, who was pulled after two periods of Thursday’s 5-2 loss at San Jose, returned to the lineup and was sharp with 23 saves.
“He played just tremendous for us, and it was great to see him rebound from the last game,” defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) said. “We played real solid defensively, tried to clear the rebounds and be there for Jimmy in front of the net. I thought we did a much better job in front of him, and he made some big saves.”
The Red Wings’ No. 1 goalie may be lobbying to go right back into the crease since his three shutouts of Anaheim (6-9-4) are his most against any team. Howard made 22 saves in a 5-0 home win over the Ducks on Nov. 5.
“I’m confident in this group, and if we keep working the way we are, we’ll turn things around,” Getzlaf insisted.
Anaheim is 1-6-3 in its last 10 games, but feels it is improving although there haven’t been many points to show for it.
Jonas Hiller(notes) has posted a 4.57 goals-against average while losing his last three starts against the Red Wings. Backup Dan Ellis(notes) has been a bit better, going 3-4-1 with a 2.73 GAA in nine starts against them.
The Red Wings ended a five-game road slide Saturday by getting some of their struggling skaters untracked. Pavel Datsyuk(notes) ended a 12-game drought with two goals and Justin Abdelkader(notes) scored for the first time in 15 games.
“It was very important, especially after the way we started the last couple of games,” Lidstrom said. “We weren’t happy with the way we were playing, but (Saturday) we stuck to our game plan for 60 minutes. We wanted to hang onto the puck, especially in their zone, try to grind their D and get some shots with traffic in front of their goalie.”