DETROIT – Jimmy Howard had a day and night to remember.
The Red Wings goalie earned his 100th career win on Thursday night when Detroit beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout. Hours earlier he found out he had been selected for his first NHL all-star Game.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored shootout goals to help Detroit win its 13th straight at home.
“It doesn’t get any better than that. What a great day. It’s been awesome,” Howard said. “I think the highlight of my day was probably when I woke up from my nap and my little guy had a T-shirt on that said, ‘My Daddy rocks.'”
Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen scored in regulation for Detroit, which moved within one home win of matching the team’s best streak. The 27-year-old Howard, in his third full NHL season, stopped 25 shots. He sustained a charley horse when Phoenix’ Mikkel Boedker crashed into him late in the third period, but said the injury wasn’t serious.
Pavel Datsyuk, who returned after missing a game because of a lower body injury, was also selected Thursday to play in the NHL all-star game at the end of January. Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom wasn’t picked, but it is believed that the 41-year-old defenceman asked to have that weekend off instead of going to Ottawa.
Radim Vrbata, Taylor Pyatt scored regulation goals for Phoenix, and Vrbata added one in the shootout. Mike Smith made 40 saves in the Coyotes’ second consecutive shootout loss. They dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
“Smith was great, he gave us a chance to win,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the shootout got us again.”
Franzen tipped in Datsyuk’s cross-ice pinpoint pass with 9:57 left in regulation to tie it at 2. It was Franzen’s 17th goal.
“Not many (could make that pass), especially against a team like this that really clogs in front of the goalie. He probably had to go through three or four guys to make that pass,” Zetterberg said. “I don’t think Mule (Franzen) even knew the pass was coming. He just had his stick there, and it went in.”
Pyatt’s sixth gave Phoenix a 2-1 lead 3:02 into the third period when he poked in a loose puck from the crease.
“Nobody thought just one goal would do it. We knew we needed to get another one,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. “We couldn’t find the second one.”
Vrbata opened the scoring with his 21st goal, 9:41 into the game. He beat Howard with a wrist shot from the top of the inside edge of the left circle.
Filppula tied it in the final minute of the first period when his slap shot from the top inside edge of the right circle deflected off the stick of Phoenix defencemen Derek Morris and beat Smith high on the glove side. It was Filppula’s 15th goal, scored with a rarely used slap shot.
“I don’t know exactly, but I know there haven’t been too many of those,” he said. “I need too much time to shoot a slapper, so normally I tend to shoot a wrist shot or something. I doubt that it’s my first, but I think you can count my slap shot goals on one hand.”
“I think that was his first slap shot goal in his NHL career, so we talked about it after the first,” he said. “I asked him, and he was pretty sure that that was his first one.”
NOTES: Phoenix defenceman Keith Yandle was selected for the All-Star game. … Red Wings RW Todd Bertuzzi was a late scratch because of an undisclosed lower body injury, despite taking part in the morning skate and pregame warmups. He is day to day. … Detroit LW Jan Mursak made his season debut. He had been out since breaking an ankle during the preseason. … Red Wings RW Dan Cleary earned his 200th assist on Franzen’s goal.