The best player on the ice Sunday was Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

Howard played a huge role in the Red Wings' 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Because of Howard's acrobatics — he made 45 saves including 23 in the second period — the Red Wings had a chance to pull out the dramatic victory, which they did, thanks to Jonathan Ericsson's goal with 4.5 seconds left.

But, again, it was mainly because of Jimmy Howard.

"Without Jimmy we wouldn't have had a chance," Ericsson said. "They were better throughout the game. He made some really good saves and kept us in the game the first two periods. We owe Jimmy this one."

Howard received a night off Thursday in St. Louis, the start of this three-game in four-days stretch, and the move by coach Mike Babcock proved perfect.

Rookie Petr Mrazek led the Red Wings to a win over the Blues. Howard played the back-to-back victories over Edmonton and Los Angeles.

"To be honest, the days off were really key," said Howard, who sat out Wednesday's practice. "I felt really rested out there. I felt really good out there through the whole game and felt rested. That was the key."

Howard has started 11 of the Red Wings 12 games but don't expect him to ask for a day off. It was all Howard could do to sit and watch in St. Louis.

"I was joking around with the trainer about being bored when I wasn't playing," Howard said. "I love to compete. I enjoying being out there and competing for the guys."

From The Detroit News: