Jakub Kindl, Johan Franzen, and Valtteri Filppula scored first-period goals for Detroit (16-7-1), which last won seven in a row in March 2010. Pavel Datsyuk pushed the lead to 4-1 by scoring into an empty net with 1:17 left.
Howard was steady throughout. In the second period he robbed Jason Pominville, who was left alone in the slot. He then stopped Nathan Gerbe on a breakaway in the third.
Jochen Hecht spoiled Howard’s shutout bid with 6:13 remaining.
WILD 4, DEVILS 2
In St. Paul, Minn., Minnesota scored three goals on their first four shots and sent New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur to the bench in the first period of a win over the Devils.
Dany Heatley, Kyle Brodziak and Casey Wellman scored in a 3:03 span of the first period to turn an early deficit into a 3-1 lead and knock Brodeur out of the game just 8:17 in.
Brodziak sealed the win with another goal in the third period. Niklas Backstrom made seven saves in the first period, and Josh Harding, who played the final two periods, stopped 22 shots.
Zach Parise had a goal and an assist, and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils. Johan Hedberg made 11 saves in relief of Brodeur.