DETROIT -- Before they officially ushered out 2019, the Red Wings attended to business Tuesday night by shutting out the San Jose Sharks, 2-0, before a raucous New Year's Eve crowd at Little Caesars Arena.
From the goal mouth out, Detroit played inspired hockey. The Wings were physically engaged and committed defensively, which allowed them to earn their first shutout of the season.
Detroit doled out 33 hits with Filip Hronek and Darren Helm leading the way with six apiece and it blocked 24 shots, led by Luke Glendening's six.
The Sharks are a big team and tried to throw the Wings off their game by playing a rough and tumble style, but the Red Wings maintained their composure and were not goaded into taking undisciplined penalties.
If anything, they were focused on trying to get a shutout for goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who was finally rewarded for his exceptional play over the course of his last several outings.
Bernier (8-11-2) stopped all 34 shots he faced and stood tall, especially in the third period when the Sharks were coming hard to the net.
All-Star Tyler Bertuzzi and Hronek (empty net) scored for the Red Wings.
With the win, the Red Wings (10-28-3) improved their all-time record on New Year's Eve to 37-22-8-3 and have points in 18 of their last 21 New Year's Eve contests (14-3-2-2).
Detroit will hit the road to begin 2020 with a pair of games Friday in Dallas versus the Stars and Sunday in the Windy City against its Original Six rival, the Chicago Blackhawks.
San Jose (17-21-3) will next play the second game of its current five-game road trip against the Penguins on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
1. Jonathan Bernier: There's no question that Bernier deserved a better fate Sunday in Tampa as he made 37 saves in the 2-1 loss. Holding the high-powered Lightning to just two goals was significant. So it was not surprising that Bernier got the nod at home against the Sharks on New Year's Eve. Despite facing no shots early in the first, Bernier was ready. Kevin Labanc fired the puck from the right circle at 4:16. Then he stood tall again during the penalty kill, facing two shots. Bernier got a little help when Antti Suomela was at the net at 11:00 of the first as Givani Smith helped clear the puck out of the crease. Early in the second, Bernier had a nifty save on Timo Meier's shot from the mid-slot. Suomela had a couple of other chances in the second, one right at the net, but Bernier was there to stop both. Late in the second, Bernier had to stop Barclay Goodrow on a couple of shots at the left side of the net. Bernier had another nice save on Patrick Marleau during a penalty kill midway through the third period. At 13:54 of the third, Logan Couture had a great chance after a Detroit turnover but Bernier quickly erased it. Impressively, Bernier is the first goaltender to shut out the Sharks this season and first Detroit goalie to post a shutout this season. It marks Bernier's second shutout with the Wings and the 18th of his career. His last shutout was Feb. 2 in Ottawa when he made 35 saves in another 2-0 win.
Quotable: "Even Montreal was a good game, I felt like. There's been a few games that there's been some weird bounces obviously. You gotta stick with it. At some point, you work hard in practice and those bounces are gonna turn. There's a couple of saves tonight I got lucky and it just hit me. That's just hockey. They're a big team. Obviously I knew they have some really good defense, so they like to put the puck to the net and crash the net and get the second chances. I just want to hold my ground there and make that first save. Hopefully if I wasn't able to control the rebound my D was there." - Bernier
Quotable II: "In Tampa he gave us a chance to win the game. That's when we need to put a few goals in. But tonight he stood on his head and he gave us an opportunity to put some in." - Bertuzzi
Quotable III: "It's been great. It's huge. It's everything for us. The past two he's been on, and like I said, it starts from there. He's been our best penalty killer. He bailed us out a couple of big times tonight. It starts from there. It gives the rest of us confidence. We need both those guys going and kicking and saving pucks." - Larkin
Quotable IV: "He played really well. Not just back to back. I don't know his numbers exactly the last 10 or so, but if you look at the last number of games he's played pretty good for a while. I think he's done a really good job of solidifying his game." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Tyler Bertuzzi: Just yesterday, Bertuzzi found out he was named to the NHL All-Star team. After the morning skate, Bertuzzi said he was excited to represent the Wings. Then on New Year's Eve against the Sharks, it was Bertuzzi who scored the game's first goal. Defenseman Madison Bowey shot from the point and Bertuzzi, who was in the slot, deflected the puck past Jones at 3:15 of the second. Dylan Larkin picked up the second assist. The goal extended Bertuzzi's team lead to 15, three ahead of the injured Anthony Mantha. It was Bertuzzi's fourth goal in his last six games. He became only the fourth Wing since 2014-15 to record 15 goals in a season before New Year's Day. The last was Larkin, who accomplished the feat last season. Bertuzzi finished with 23 shifts for 18:18, had two shots, one hit, four giveaways, two blocked shots and was plus-1.
Quotable: "My linemates have been awesome, playing with Dylan. I'm just confident with the puck, knowing where each other are and just trying to keep it more simple right now and keep it simple. It was an overall good game by us. A lot of guys stepped up. Glenny (Luke Glendening) blocked a lot of big shots and Berns stood on his head. We got rewarded by playing good hockey." - Bertuzzi
Quotable II: "He's obviously really good around the net. He's what you call a gritty player. He's tough to play against, he wins battles, he tips pucks in front. He does all the right things. He's an overall really good player." - Bernier
Quotable III: "I know what Tyler's saying. We all have representatives. What I would say is I think it's a great reward for Tyler for a number of years of hard work and doing a real good job. He doesn't want to take the credit but he deserves the credit. He's worked real hard to put himself in position where he's our selection as the All-Star. I think guys are really happy for him. He's a guy that cares a ton, that plays real hard, that practices hard every day and guys are real happy for him." - Blashill
3. Filip Hronek: New Year's Eve found Hronek in a feisty mood. The young defenseman always plays with a bit of an edge but the Sharks' physical play seemed to bring that side of him out even more. At one point in the second period, Hronek got entangled with Goodrow, Brenden Dillon and Stefan Noesen on the same shift. But it was Bertuzzi and Noesen who ended up in the box for roughing. Hronek sealed the game with his empty-net goal with 48.2 seconds left in regulation, sending the puck flying through the air from his own end into the Sharks net. Glendening had the only assist. Hronek had a similar empty-netter in the 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 12 at Little Caesars Arena. It gave Hronek three empty-net goals. He is the first Detroit defenseman to score three empty-netters in one season and only the 11th defenseman to accomplish that in league history. Only two defensemen, Shea Weber in 2011-12 and Hampus Lindholm last season, have scored four empty-net goals in a season. That gives Hronek eight goals, tying him for 11th among league defensemen. Hronek finished with 32 shifts for a team-high 26:06, had one shot, six hits, four giveaways, one blocked shot and was plus-1.
Quotable: "He plays with an edge and we need that. He's a great player. He's really come into his own this year and found a role for us. He moves pucks. He jumps up into the play and he's not afraid to take a hit to make a play and not afraid to give a hit. I'm sure he's frustrating to play against." - Larkin
Quotable II: "He's got that down pat, eh? He has this weird heel curve so that he can just shoot it as high as he wants." - Bertuzzi on Hronek's empty-net goal
Quotable III: "I think Fil, Fil was great tonight. His competitive level is extraordinarily high. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes, but he's certainly a guy who's growing in front of our eyes, continuing to get better in front of our eyes. He's getting thrust into situations that are asking a lot of him on a night-to-night basis, and the thing that I like is that he's really mentally tough. So when has some tough nights, you'd like to not have to feed him as much as we have had to feed him but even when he struggles, he comes back the next day and has a real good game. He's not a natural smooth skater so the minutes he plays are never easy minutes. But he just competes so hard, he finds a way too will himself to success." - Blashill