DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings won another game but lost another player.
Jimmy Howard made 30 saves for his first NHL shutout in Detroit’s 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Drew Miller, Todd Bertuzzi and Patrick Eaves scored for Detroit, and Brian Rafalski had two assists. But the Red Wings centre Henrik Zetterberg left the game because of a left shoulder injury with 1:43 left in the first period after a crushing hit by Tampa Bay defenceman Mattias Ohlund.
Zetterberg was on the ice on his hands and knees before being helped off.
“That was unfortunate,” Ohlund said. “I’m not trying to hurt anybody. I like to play hard.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who didn’t know the extent of the injury or how long Zetterberg would be out, said the team’s top point producer drove himself to the hospital to get an MRI after the game.
The Red Wings were already without Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Jason Williams, Niklas Kronwall, Dan Cleary, Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson because of injuries. Despite those losses they have won four straight.
“I just think the guys are playing hard and we’re getting good goaltending,” said Babcock, who got his 300th career win.
Howard, in his first full NHL season, continued his outstanding play. Not only did he get his first shutout, but his grandparents were in the stands.
“It feels great. It’s exciting to do it in front of my grandparents,” Howard said. “It’s something real special. It’s not their first game at the Joe. But it’s their first game watching me. It’s awesome.”
It was the first time his grandparents have seen Howard play a regular-season game for Detroit.
Mike Smith made 19 saves for Tampa Bay, which lost its sixth straight.
“If we continue to make those kind of mistakes, we don’t have a chance (to make the playoffs),” Smith said. “We don’t have a good enough team to make those mistakes.”
Miller gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 8:24 into the game with his fourth goal. He knocked Rafalski’s head-man pass out of the air with his stick at the Tampa Bay blue line, gained control of the puck to sweep in from the left side and put a backhand shot over Smith as the Lighting goaltender dove to try and poke check the puck. Miller flew through the crease as he completed the play.
Detroit claimed Miller off waivers from Tampa Bay earlier this season.
“It’s a business move for them. They chose to get rid of me,” he said. “You’ve got to land on your feet and make the most of wherever you’re at. No hard feelings toward them.”
Bertuzzi made it 2-0 with his ninth goal, at 6:48 of the third period. Bertuzzi tipped in Tomas Holmstrom’s pass after Pavel Datsyuk started the play by taking the puck away from Lukas Krajicek along the boards just inside the Tampa Bay zone.
Eaves scored with 9:10 left when he poked one pass Smith after gaining control of Nicklas Lidstrom’s pass in the slot.
NOTES: Helm, a centre, sat out his second game because of a wrist injury and Ericsson, a defenceman, missed his first game after bruising his left knee cap and injuring his left calf against Phoenix on Monday night. … Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman didn’t play because of a foot injury and RW Steve Downie was out because of an upper-body injury. … Red Wings’ D Doug Janik is a former member of the Lightning. Janik was recalled from Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids’ after Ericsson’s injury. … Lightning C Jeff Halpern was hit in the mouth with Ville Leino’s clearing attempt early in the third period. He went to the locker room with a bloody mouth, which received 12 stitches.