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TAKE A BOW

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Jimmy Howard made 23 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-0 win over the Manitoba Moose on Friday at Van Andel Arena.

Combined with his 31-save effort in last Saturday’s 6-2 win over Philadelphia, Howard has put together the second-best two-game stretch of his career, posting a 0.964 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average while improving his record to 4-2-0 on the season.

In the teams’ first meeting since Grand Rapids’ dramatic Game 7 win in the 2006 North Division Finals, the Griffins (5-3-1-1) got the upper hand on their first shot of the contest. Hours after being reassigned by the Detroit Red Wings, Kyle Quincey fired a wrist shot from the left point that beat Wade Flaherty at 4:49 of the first period.

Valtteri Filppula, who rejoined the Griffins from the Motor City on Wednesday, made it a two-goal game at 10:39, collecting a rebound of Jonathan Ericsson’s shot and slipping the puck into an open net. Both goals came within three seconds of a Manitoba penalty expiring, with Filppula’s extending his point streak to 11 games (dating to last season), tying the fifth-longest scoring run in franchise history.

Flaherty made three tremendous saves during the duration of the period to keep the score 2-0 at intermission, but Grand Rapids added another pair during the middle frame. Josh Langfeld crashed the crease, gained control of the puck and flipped a sharp-angle shot from the right side over a sprawled Flaherty at 3:31, and Danny Syvret scored on a 55-foot slap shot from the point during a power play at 18:31.

After being out-shot 21-11 through 40 minutes, the Moose (3-6-1-1) registered 12 shots on Howard in the third but still could not solve him, as he cemented his third career shutout. The Griffins have now earned points in five of his six starts this season, with four wins and an overtime loss. Flaherty finished with 24 saves.

Filppula, one of four Griffins to record two points on the night, was recalled by the Red Wings following the game. Grand Rapids will continue its four-game set against its rival and complete a season-high eight-game homestand by hosting the Moose at 7 p.m. Saturday.


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