Wings’ Howard earns All-Star game spot

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has played his way into the All-Star Game later this month in Ottawa.

He leads the NHL with 27 wins and is among the league leaders with five shutouts, a 1.95 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Howard says he wasn’t motivated by not being on the ballots issued in November. He says he didn’t deserve the distinction because of his lackluster numbers last year.

Detroit, which led the tightly contested Western Conference with 61 points on Wednesday, plays on Thursday night at Phoenix.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says Howard has had a lot to do with the team’s success so far and believes the 27-year netminder is entering the prime of his career.