Jimmy Howard earned a shutout and victory Monday and he probably should have gotten a save, too.

Howard relieved Jonas Gustavsson after the first period after Gustavsson became dizzy between periods, Justin Abdelkader scored a second-period goal and an empty-net goal, and the Red Wings defeated Vancouver, 2-0.

Playing their third game in four nights, the Red Wings relied on goaltending, a great penalty kill (Vancouver was 0-for-5), and grit and determination.

“These are games you have to battle it out and have to be professional,” Abdelkader said. “It’s not an easy game to play. But we played sound defensively and cashed in on our chances.”

Gustavsson did not return to the Red Wings bench after leaving through one period.

General manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock both said Gustavsson was fine after the game.

“He’s fine,” Babcock said. “Everything settled down. I don’t know why he was dizzy. All I know is they came in and said he wasn’t going to go in for the second.”

Howard stopped all 16 shots he faced (Gustavsson had eight saves) and the two goalies had the first Red Wings combined shutout since Oct. 27, 2001 (Dominik Hasek and Manny Legace against Nashville).

“Sometimes it’s easier to be surprised and just go in and play,” Howard said. “You just have to be ready and play to your capabilities.”

Howard was tested early, stopping David Booth (Michigan State) on a penalty shot at 4:41.

Howard, himself, was run into by Vancouver’s Alex Edler in the second period — Edler and Luke Glendening were tied up — but shook off the hit.