DETROIT (AP) — Jimmy Howard spent the third period fending off shot after shot, but the Detroit Red Wings never seemed in much danger of losing.
They were already comfortably ahead by that point.
“It’s nice to be able to go out there tonight and play with the lead,” Howard said. “We bent but we didn’t break.”
Howard made a season-high 42 saves and Dylan Larkin scored his 12th goal of the season to lift Detroit to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Dennis Cholowski and Frans Nielsen also scored for the Red Wings, who improved to 13-6-2 in their last 21 games.
Howard came within 6:38 of his first shutout of the season. Then Anze Kopitar scored the only goal for Los Angeles.
The Kings outshot Detroit 19-4 in the third period and 43-21 for the game.
“Jimmy Howard was my favorite player tonight,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We didn’t play well enough. They outplayed us, and Jimmy gave us a chance to win the game.”
Cholowski opened the scoring for the Red Wings, beating goalie Jonathan Quick high to the short side in the first period. Nielsen made it 2-0 in the second when he collected his own rebound and scored after Quick had slid out of position.
“We had a bunch of odd-man rushes when it was still 1-0 and we didn’t finish any of them,” Kopitar said. “If we even get one goal in that stretch, it changes the game. We can’t be satisfied because we got 43 shots. We’ve got to score some goals.”
Larkin’s unassisted goal came late in the second. He intercepted an errant pass near the top of the slot and moved to his right to elude a sliding Los Angeles player. Then he was alone against Quick and scored to make it 3-0.
“The puck was there. I think I’ve seen (Drew) Doughty slide like that a couple times so I was figuring he was going to do that,” Larkin said. “Just saw it unfold right in front of me. It was a pretty lucky play.”
The Kings, who are tied with Chicago for the fewest points in the NHL, have been shut out only once this season. They spoiled Howard’s bid in the third when Kopitar tapped in a loose puck at the doorstep.
“I thought we played hard tonight,” Los Angeles coach Willie Desjardins said. “I thought we had lots of scoring chances and we didn’t capitalize.”
The Kings have the fewest goals in the NHL, but they’d scored eight times in their previous two games, and this was their season high in shots. Los Angeles had 40 shots in a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 28.
“I thought we sat back a little too much in the third,” Larkin said. “Howie was great all game. I thought he was pretty deserving of a shutout and we got to just battle, we’ve got to play our game in the third.”
NOTES: Each team had only one power play and failed to score. … The Kings have not won when trailing after two periods since Jan. 26, when they overcame a 1-0 deficit against Calgary. … It was the fifth goal this season for both Cholowski and Nielsen and the eighth for Kopitar. … Howard’s previous season high was 40 saves on Nov. 6 against Vancouver.
Kings: Visit Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Red Wings: Visit Washington on Tuesday night.