DETROIT – Jimmy Howard got all the help he needed in the second period.
Howard made 25 saves for his sixth career shutout and the Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the second period to beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 on Thursday night.
Justin Abdelkader and Valtteri Filppula scored for Detroit in the Red Wings’ second straight shutout. Ty Conklin was in goal for a 3-0 victory in Colorado on Saturday night.
“Just attention to detail is important. Playing with pretty good structure, all on the same page. Obviously, you’ve got to give credit to our goalies,” Abdelkader said. “Conks did a great job in Colorado and Jimmy did a great job tonight. Anytime you pitch shutouts the goalies get the credit right away.”
Howard credited his teammates.
“Guys were doing a great job sacrificing their bodies down there on the power play (Vancouver was 0 for 4 with the extra man),” Howard said. “We out waited them at the top of the crease.”
Cory Schneider stopped 35 shots for Vancouver, which has struggled to a 1-2-1 start after taking the Boston Bruins to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals last season.
“Right now, we’re making mistakes,” Henrik Sedin said. “Last year, we waited for the other team to make mistakes.”
It was the Canucks’ second game in two nights and third in four nights.
They dropped a 5-4 decision at Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
But Vancouver came out strong on Thursday night, outshooting Detroit 12-9 and winning 75 per cent of the faceoffs in the first period. That led to good scoring chances but they couldn’t beat Howard.
Howard made two spectacular saves on Daniel Sedin in the final 3 seconds of the first period. Howard came across the crease to smother a deflection from the bottom of the left circle, then denied the Vancouver star from in front of the net after a faceoff as time ran out.
“It’s frustrating not to be able to score on those chances. But that’s the way it is,” Daniel Sedin said.
The Detroit goalie also stopped Alexandre Burrows on a breakaway almost 5 minutes into the second period and thwarted Dale Weise on an attempted breakaway as Weise was being harassed from behind by Darren Helm.
But the Red Wings were in the process of changing the game’s momentum and Abdelkader opened the scoring 8:37 into the second period with his first goal, beating Schneider from the bottom of the left circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Todd Bertuzzi.
“Bert made a great play. Pav was driving the middle and took the defenceman’s attention and even the goalie,” Abdelkader said. “I got the pass from Bert and I was fortunately able to finish it.”
Filppula made it 2-0 2:28 later with his first goal. He put in a one-time shot from the right faceoff dot off the rush on a give-and-go play with Johan Franzen.
“I thought our second period, we got a lot more competitive than the first. We took the game over,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Cody Hodgson’ shot from the right circle bounced off Howard and into the net just after time expired in the second period. The play went to video review and was ruled no goal.
Burrows hit the goal post from the right circle with an apparent half-open net with 6:15 left.
NOTES: Detroit D Brendan Smith was called up from Grand Rapids of the AHL earlier in the week to serve two of the remaining four games of his suspension for his hit to the head of Chicago’s Ben Smith during the exhibition season. Smith was originally suspended for the final three games of the exhibition season and five regular-season games. He was called up Saturday to serve the first game of his suspension during the Red Wings’ 3-0 win in Colorado, served the second game during Thursday night’s game and will sit out a third game on Saturday night in Minnesota. … Vancouver was without C Ryan Kesler (hip) and LW Mason Raymond (back). … Detroit D Mike Commodore sat out the game because of a knee injury. … The Red Wings were 0 for 7 on the power play in the game and are 0 for 16 with the extra man for the season.