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Since the 2008-09 season _ his first full one in the NHL _ he has won a league-high 101 games.

The native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., was runner-up for rookie after ranking in the top five in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. Even though he won 37 games last season, he seemed to slip from spectacular to sometimes shaky with a 2.79 GAA and .908 save percentage.

Howard, though, has ended any doubt that he can excel in his pressure-packed job in Detroit.

“I think a goalie can hide behind a team like the Red Wings because they’re such a good team and play so well defensively,” Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews said. “But they’re getting the confidence that if they make a mistake, he’s going to step up.”

Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said Howard doesn’t get rattled anymore if he gives up a soft goal or has a poor game. The latest such example came earlier this week when Howard misplayed a puck behind the net and gave up a goal in a win against Chicago, but he didn’t let that affect him the rest of the game.

Jimmy proves it is a process for a lot of guys to make it at this level,” Holland said. “Some players are able to jump on the scene at 19 or 20 and don’t miss a beat, but for most players it’s a process to get comfortable and to know what you can do in this league.

“To play in the All-Star game, you have to play your way onto the radar screen unless you’re the No. 1 overall pick and everyone knows you. And, that’s what Jimmy has done.”