The Red Wings looked done, spent, gassed. It was their third game in four days and the visitors were swarming, hitting, firing pucks for fun.

But this is the story of the Wings' grueling season in a tidy Sunday snapshot. They're determined to prove they're not done yet, not even close, and they're being led by the players who must do it.

This was goalie Jimmy Howard's day, as he saved the Wings in every way in a 3-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. The Wings' third straight victory was high-profile thievery, and in a condensed season, stealing is important. But more impressive than what they're taking is what they're giving.

It ended on a Jonathan Ericsson slapper that dribbled between Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick's legs with 4.5 seconds left, as the Joe Louis Arena crowd erupted. But it began where it does more and more, with the relentless stars in charge — Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

The Wings are 7-4-1 precisely one-fourth through the 48-game schedule. They're in the middle of an ever-shifting playoff scramble, not a surprise for a team that has made the playoffs 21 consecutive times. But the questions before the season are starting to be answered, and in Nicklas Lidstrom's absence, there's no doubt who's setting the tone.

Sleepless streak

Zetterberg assisted on two more goals and has points in 10 of 12 games, and is second in the league with 18 points. Datsyuk scored and was terrific when every bead of energy was needed. The Wings faced Edmonton and Los Angeles less than 24 hours apart, while the Kings hadn't played since Thursday. Including a victory at St. Louis, Detroit outscored three talented opponents, 10-5.

No time for rest or excuses or barely any sleep. If the Wings plan to defy the latest predictions of their alleged demise, they have no time to waste. Howard put together back-to-back gut-check gems, and he wasn't the only one.

"I think you have to kind of trick your mind, because you're telling the legs to move and they're not moving," Zetterberg said. "You just have to battle out wins, and to do that, you need goaltending like we got. Howie was sensational. (The Kings) were physical, they came in wave after wave, and we couldn't really match it. But we stepped it up in the third."



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130211/OPINION03/302110334#ixzz2KbLD4XWG