Howard Scraps, Wins 30th
Jimmy Howard won his 30th game of the year, played a little feisty and the Detroit Red Wings powered their way to a 3-1 victory over the red hot St. Louis Blues for their 17th consecutive home win which puts them at 4th all time for longest winning streak in a team's own building.
Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall scored for the Wings. Scott Nichol scored the lone goal for the Blues in only his second game of the year.
Nichol got on the gamesheet first when the Blues took advantage of a terrible line change by Brad Stuart and Jonathan Ericsson. The ensuing three on one was converted on a pass by B.J Crombeen to Nichol.
In the second period, Datsyuk got the Wings rolling 51 seconds in on a nifty backhander that beat Jaroslav Halak up top to tie the game at one.
Franzen followed up with a power move in front of Halak, bowling over Alex Pietrangelo and sliding the puck in for a 2-1 lead.
The Blues were the ones that got the Red Wings going in the second period. At the end of the first, Brad Stuart rocked Pietrangelo with a legal hit and Chris Stewart (the dummy who took out Kronwall illegally last game) instigated a fight and took a major penalty, and it seemingly enraged the Red Wings.
St. Louis made some undisciplined plays because of Detroit's puck possession and restraint to not retaliate. Ultimately the Blues ended up in the box with three minutes left and Kronwall crushed a slapshot past Halak with Tomas Holmstrom being a pest in front. It should be noted that Kronwall also did his patented 'pee on a fire hydrant' celebration, something that I find incredibly hilarious.
Howard shut the door the rest of the way, and with the atmosphere in the Joe Louis Arena feeling like the playoffs, he acted accordingly at the end of the game. Pietrangelo drove the net with 1.5 seconds remaining and slashed at Howard and was immediately put in a headlock by the Wings all star goalie. Howard also tried ripping a few more Blues heads off, and then realized he had 30 wins and was an NHL All Star and backed off.
Darren Helm also rocked Pietrangelo with a clean hit and was met with some reaction from the Blues which led to a Detroit powerplay.
The Red Wings have one more game before the All Star break in Montreal against the slumping Canadiens. It'll be a matchup in which we'll probably be finding George Prax hiding under his covers like the apocalypse has come. Expect the Wings to roll through the Habs. Does Prax agree? He just might.