The San Jose Sharks were able to win a crucial road game because the Detroit Red Wings can't seem to win at home.
Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture scored in regulation and again in the shootout to give the Sharks a 3-2 win against the Red Wings on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
"It was a huge win for us," Marleau told NHL Network. "Obviously, we've had our troubles on the road and we kind of stunk the joint out in Columbus before this [a 4-0 loss Tuesday], so we wanted to come out and have a strong showing."
Marleau's goal in the third round followed a successful shootout attempt by Couture against Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. San Jose goalie Antti Niemi allowed a goal by Pavel Datsyuk in the first round of the tiebreaker but stopped Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist, making his first NHL attempt in the tiebreaker.
The Sharks, 8-1-1 in their past 10, have 49 points; they remained one point behind the Los Angeles Kings for fourth place in the Western Conference. The Kings beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night.
"It should click, the certain that way we have to play," Marleau said. "We have to play our system to a 'T,' and have everybody going, get our forecheck going. That's how we've been winning games, and playing strong defensively. Everybody's just got to buy into that and we've got to be consistent with that going into the playoffs."
San Jose is 7-11-2 on the road this season but was motivated by its poor showing in the loss to the Blue Jackets.
"I'm proud of the guys because they didn’t obviously perform very well in Columbus," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area. "The bounce-back game here in a tough building to play, that was a hell of a game by both teams. Goaltending, special teams, a lot of battles fought along the boards and net front. A good night for us to play."
The Red Wings have 44 points, good for eighth place in the Western Conference as they attempt to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 22nd consecutive season. They are two points ahead of Phoenix and three in front of Dallas and Columbus.
Detroit has lost five of its past six at home (1-3-2) and plays Friday night on the road against the League-leading Chicago Blackhawks.
"Anybody who's been in the playoffs knows their pretty special," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You've got to earn your right to say 'playoff game' though. We're obviously in a dogfight. We would have liked to get two points, but to me we're just going to keep battling, keep worrying about the process and doing good things, and in the end good things will happen to us. We just have to compete harder."
The teams traded power-play goals 1:31 apart in the third period.
Detroit's Jakub Kindl got the first, giving the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. Henrik Zetterberg grabbed a loose puck near the left faceoff dot and fed the charging wide-open defenseman for a shot inside the far post at 2:29. It was Zetterberg's 400th career assist.
"[Kindl] was open and he finished off with a real good shot by him," Zetterberg said. "Got up 2-1 there, but unfortunately they scored I think two shifts after; kind of momentum switched again."
Couture tied it 2-2 at 4:00, backhanding the rebound of a Joe Thornton shot over Howard into the net.
"I was able to find the rebound kind of falling forward," Couture said. "I know Howard's going to be on his stomach there, pads on the ice, so I was able to get it upstairs."
The Sharks started the scoring 2:35 into the game with a shorthanded goal.
Joe Pavelski stole the puck in the left circle in the Sharks' zone. He and Marleau criss-crossed at center ice to create a 2-on-1. With Zetterberg chasing Marleau, Pavelski hit his teammate with a pass, and Marleau beat Howard to the short side.
"We've got to chase the right guy; we chase the wrong guy, and it was in our net," Babcock said. "We had lots of hockey to overcome that. I didn't spend any time worrying about that."
After sustained pressure midway through the second period, the Red Wings, shut out by the St. Louis Blues 1-0 at home on Sunday, broke through with a goal at 9:51.
Defenseman Brendan Smith shot wide of the net and Johan Franzen gathered the puck along the right-wing boards. He outdueled Sharks defenseman Justin Braun and skated behind the net, from where he fed Justin Abdelkader at the near post. Abdelkader slid a shot along the ice through Niemi's five-hole.
Material from team and national media was used in this report