Jimmy Howard was an All-Star in 2012, but few expected him to post numbers as impressive, following key personnel losses in the offseason and a rash of injuries this year.

But, while Howard's statistics don't stand out, he has been sharp most nights. In some games, he's been outstanding.

Such was the case Tuesday, when Howard made 36 saves to compensate for a lax defensive effort, as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena.

“He bailed us out tonight; if it weren’t for him, we probably wouldn’t have won that game,'' defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “He’s been stellar for us. He’s given us a chance to win every night. He did it last year. He’s doing it again this year.

“He doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but he has been playing unreal for us.”