DETROIT (AP) -- On a team full of aging stars, one of the youngest Detroit
Red Wings is playing a big role.
Pavel Datsyuk's goal with 18.8 seconds to go in regulation forced overtime
and Brendan Shanahan scored with 1:09 left in the extra period to give Detroit
a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.
Datsyuk, a 25-year-old Russian, has 19 goals and 21 assists to rank among
the NHL's scoring leaders.
"In my mind, he's one of the top two or three players in the league," said
Curtis Joseph, who made 26 saves for the Red Wings.
Datsyuk has scored 11 goals in the last nine games, but he's not ready to
think of himself as one of the NHL's best.
"Maybe if I keep going for 30 years," he said.
The Red Wings were able to win their sixth straight at home in part because
Nils Ekman was called for high-sticking with 30 seconds left in regulation.
"We could see it from the bench and you almost laugh," San Jose coach Ron
Wilson said. "What can you do? You end up losing the game because of a
Brett Hull extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist on Datsyuk's
Henrik Zetterberg, in his first game since breaking his left leg on Nov. 3,
had a goal and two assists. He skated with the puck from the left circle to the
right circle, then fed Shanahan with a perfect pass just below the left circle
for the winner.
"The biggest thing is I felt good, and the leg held up" Zetterberg said.
Joseph improved to 4-1 in his fifth straight start. He made 26 saves,
including two in the final seconds of regulation.
Joseph has been playing regularly because Dominik Hasek has been out with a
groin injury and Manny Legace has been slowed by a knee injury.
The Red Wings have been trying to trade Joseph since Hasek ended his
retirement this summer. They have put him on waivers twice, but no team has
been willing to take him and his $8 million salary.
"That's one of the things you have to forget about," Joseph said. "A lot
of things can be distractions if you let them be."
Scott Thornton, who was without a goal since Nov. 6, gave San Jose a 2-1
lead early in the third period. Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves for the Sharks,
who lost for just the third time in 14 games.
San Jose's Marco Sturm scored his team-high 10th goal early in the second,
on power play with a two-man advantage.
The Western Conference-leading Red Wings have won nine of 12.
"They're really on a tear, but for 59 minutes, we did a great job,"
Zetterberg gave Detroit a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Despite his
three-point game, all Zetterberg wanted to talk about was Datsyuk, his dazzling
"If he's not the best player in the league, he's one of them," Zetterberg
said. "It's a pleasure to be out there with him. There's not that many guys in
this league that have the talent he has."