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Detroit Red Wings' Sweet Win Made Bitter By Loss of Henrik Zetterberg

Matt Hutter@mahutter12Analyst IDecember 18, 2009

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 21:  Brad Stuart #23 celebrates with Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in shootouts in the NHL game on November 21, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Red Wings defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

It figures, the way this season has gone. 

On a night where so many things went right, the Red Wings lose their best player.

Late in the first period, Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg received a devastating hit by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman, Mattias Ohlund.

As brutal as the hit was, it was totally clean and well delivered.

Zetterberg was unable to get up for several seconds after the hit and eventually had to be helped off the ice.

An MRI revealed a slightly seperated shoulder.  Zetterberg is expected to be out of the lineup for a minimum of two weeks.

Unfortunately, such events are now par for the course for the Red Wings as Zetterberg is now the eighth regular roster player to go down with an injury.

Zetterberg's injury makes Detroit's fourth win in a row, their longest streak of the season, bittersweet.

The highlight of the night was seeing rookie goalie Jimmy Howard earn his first NHL shutout.

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Howard turned away every shot he faced as the Lightning actually out shot Detroit 30-22.

Howard's performance was key as it contributed to Detroit's red-hot penalty kill of late.  The Wings killed off all five penalties they faced.

Howard has been an absolute rock in net over his past four starts.  He's 3-1, has a 1.50 GAA and .947 save percentage over this span.

As head coach Mike Babcock is not at all sentimental when it comes to goaltending, it's clear that veteran Chris Osgood is going to be riding pine as long as Howard keeps playing at his current level.

Howard's stability could not come at a better time.  As Detroit has so few certainties when it comes to their roster, getting their goal-tending squared away makes for one less thing to worry about.

Another great trend developing for the Red Wings is the offensive contributions from likely and unlikely sources.

Defenseman Brian Rafalski broke out of a 12 game scoring drought with two assists, and uncharacteristically cold Nicklas Lidstrom also pitched in with a helper.

Waiver wire pick up, Drew Miller, opened the scoring converting a beautiful pass by Rafalski, knocking it out of the air and charging to the front of the net, before putting the puck past Tampa goalie Mike Smith.

Patrick Eaves and Todd Bertuzzi completed the scoring for the Red Wings.

These two have been particularly hot of late and are looking more confident and comfortable with every game.

This surge in team wide contributions will need to continue for a while as Detroit's sick bay is now bursting at the seams with regular offensive contributors.

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