Detroit's Howard marks new deal by usurping Kings

March 2, 2011 - 0:0

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard celebrated a two-year contract extension by earning his league-leading 31st win of the season as the Red Wings beat the Los Angeles Kings 7-4 on Monday.

Detroit gave Howard a two-year extension worth $4.5 million earlier in the day and the 26-year-old responded by making 35 saves against the Kings.
Howard was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason but the Red Wings made sure they held on to him.
""It's good. It's where I want to be,"" Howard told reporters. ""It's a great organization and I've got a lot of great friends in the room. It's a great situation.""
Howard allowed the opening goal to Michal Handzus at 4:09 in the first period, but then the Red Wings offense took over, scoring the next seven goals by the middle of the third, including a double from Drew Miller.
The Kings' Dustin Brown, Wayne Simmonds and Brad Richardson netted the final three goals in the third with the game out of reach to take some gloss off Howard's night.
Central Division-leading Detroit (39-18-6) had lost four in a row to the Kings (35-24-4), who came into Monday's game on a three-game winning streak.
The Red Wings have won six consecutive road games during their current run to pull within three points of West-leading Vancouver.
The visitors blitzed Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick who was pulled after allowing six goals.
Miller sparked Detroit's scoring in the first where Danny Cleary and Nicklas Lidstrom also converted shots.
Pavel Datsyuk scored in the second and Darren Helm, Jiri Hudler and Miller struck in the third.
""Tonight, I think we just played a solid road game,"" Helm said. ""I wish we could do the same at home, but right now we're happy to be on the road. That's where we're having a lot of success.""
(Source: Reuters)