There's nothing the San Jose Sharks
enjoy more than beating the Detroit Red Wings
The Sharks did it for the second time in two weeks, getting two goals from Dany Heatley in a 3-1 victory against the Wings that extended San Jose's winning streak to eight games. Two of the wins have come against Detroit -- a 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena was win No. 2 in the streak.
"It's fun to play them," Heatley said after the Sharks beat Detroit for the third time in a row and finished the four-game season series with s 3-1-0 mark. "We really respect them. Tonight you could feel it in the crowd. The fans were really into it. It's getting to that point at the end of the year coming toward the playoffs. You can feel the fans get excited. Against a team like Detroit, we notice it for sure."
The win was the 17th in 20 games for the Sharks, who have moved from outside the playoff picture in mid-January to first place in the Pacific Division. They are third in the West, just three points behind second-place Detroit.
Tomas Holmstrom scored a power-play goal for the Red Wings, who have lost on back-to-back nights after winning their previous six road games.
Joey MacDonald made 25 saves, including a tough stop on Devin Setoguchi early in the third and another on a deflection by Jamal Mayers later in the period that kept Detroit in the game.
But the Red Wings were unable to generate any much offense in the third before the Sharks put it away with a fluky goal. Patrick Marleau was chasing after a dump-in when MacDonald came out to try to clear the puck. Instead, MacDonald's clearing effort hit Marleau's stick, deflected off a defenseman and popped into the net for Marleau's 25th goal of the season and a two-goal lead.
"One of those bounces," MacDonald said. "It was one of those nights, a lot of bounces. Hey, we were in it right to the end. It was a 2-1 game."
Added coach Mike Babcock: Unfortunate, that bounce there, I thought we were going to tie it up. In the end, that third goal made it harder."
Heatley scored his first goal 3:51 into the game, then put the Sharks ahead to stay with a power-play goal at 3:54 of the second when he redirected a centering pass from Joe Pavelski past MacDonald with Holmstrom in the box for hooking. Heatley, who had scored just one goal in his previous 12 games, just missed a hat trick when he shot wide at an empty net with just over a minute left.
"I would have loved to have seen him score the third one but he got the two that counted," coach Todd McLellan said. "I'm sure that will help his confidence and he'll feel better about his game."
The Sharks came out strong against a Detroit team that lost 2-1 in overtime at Anaheim on Wednesday and had to fly to San Jose on Thursday morning. They had 12 of the first 13 shots on goal by the midway point of the opening period and grabbed the lead when Heatley tipped a shot by Ian White past MacDonald.
"We wanted to get a quick start knowing they played in Anaheim last night," captain Joe Thornton said. "They're a good team, we're a good team. These are always good games. It really doesn't matter who we play against right now, we have to get wins."
After going 1 for 9 on the power play Wednesday and failing to convert their first chance this game, the Red Wings finally broke through on the man advantage late in the first after Justin Braun was called for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass. Detroit had one goal waved off because Johan Franzen made contact with Antti Niemi, but Holmstrom got one that counted seconds later when he tipped Mike Modano's shot past Niemi at 18:19.
"The bottom line is we have to skate better than we did tonight as a group," Babcock said. "Our big guys in particular have to skate better, but they played hard minutes last night. But the bottom line is we think we can skate better as a team and we can spend more time in the offensive zone. But I wasn't disappointed in our effort tonight."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report