Crosby, Penguins eventually best Howard, Wings
I think the Red Wings are in good hands with Jimmy Howard.
Howard made 46 saves but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin slipped pucks past him in the shootout and Pittsburgh downed Detroit, 2-1, in the teams' first meeting since the Penguins won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Crosby scored the lone Pittsburgh goal in regulation before Daniel Cleary equalized by tipping Brad Stuart's uncontested point shot in the third period. Pittsburgh held a 47-24 shots advantage but Howard stood tall other than on Crosby's slick move to his backhand in the second period. In particular, Howard made a number of key saves late in the third period.
Pittsburgh's penalty killing neutralized all five Detroit power plays, including one in overtime with 1:21 remaining. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves.
Late strikes shock New Jersey
For the second game in a row, New Jersey blew a late third-period lead. This time, the Devils didn't have time to rebound.
Wayne Simmonds flipped a backhander past a screened Martin Brodeur with 1:46 to play and then Drew Doughty slammed home a power play goal 78 seconds later and Los Angeles shocked New Jersey, 3-2.
The Devils led 2-0 on goals by Johnny Oduya and Travis Zajac but Michal Handzus scored in the final 30 seconds of the second period for the Kings. That set the stage for the late-game performances by Simmonds and Doughty.
Zach Parise had two assists for New Jersey. Jonathan Quick made 26 saves. Brodeur finished with 19.
In other action
--Alex Ovechkin's 35th goal snapped a 2-2 tie and Washington overcame blowing a 2-0 lead to win its 10th straight game to tie the franchise record, 3-2 over Tampa Bay. Ovechkin also had an assist.
--Tomas Vokoun made 33 saves for his seventh shutout, tied with Brodeur for the league lead, and David Booth returned to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 24 for Florida in its 2-0 win over the Islanders. Booth assisted on Jordan Leopold's power play goal.
--Shane Doan and Peter Mueller each had a goal and two assists and Ilya Bryzgalov made 38 saves to lead Phoenix past Dallas, 4-2.
--Marian Gaborik scored a hat trick and Chad Johnson made 34 saves for his first NHL win as the Rangers knocked off Colorado, 3-1, to snap a five-game losing streak.
Stat of the night
15 - Points for Doan in his last eight games (six goals.) He had 28 points in his first 48 games.
Quote of the night
"I wonder why? They got Malkin and Crosby. I mean, Crosby knocked the water bottle out of the sleeve [on top of the net], it was such a backhand. Malkin, he just came in and just started stickhandling. There's not much you can do there."
Howard, talking about Pittsburgh's success in shootouts (7-0.) Crosby is 6-of-7 on shootouts though Malkin is just 5-of-25 in his career.
Monday, Feb. 1 (4 games)
-Buffalo (32-14-7) at Pittsburgh (34-21-1), 7 p.m. ET. Two teams in the top four in the East separated by two points. Last time they played, the Penguins chased Ryan Miller with three goals in just over 20 minutes, then couldn't score again and lost 4-3.
-Philadelphia (27-23-3) at Calgary (27-20-8), 9:30 p.m. The Flames have to be getting desperate, and trading Dion Phaneuf and Olli Jokinen (if the reports are accurate) suggests they are. How will the new-look Flames fare?