Sharks stay hot, blank Red Wings
Joe Pavelski has scored in all three games since moving to third-line center, after recording just one goal in his previous 18 games. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – Antti Niemi recorded his second consecutive shutout, and Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns each scored their third goal in as many games in a 2-0 Sharks win over Detroit on Thursday night at HP Pavilion.
The Sharks won their third straight game, all in regulation, after managing just three regulation wins in their previous 25. It’s their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 27 – 31, when they won seven straight to open the season. They moved into sole possession of seventh place in the Western Conference.
Niemi made 27 saves just one night after blanking the Anaheim Ducks. It was his third shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.
Pavelski’s 10th goal held up through two periods. On a wraparound attempt, the puck deflected off of Niklas Kronwall’s skate and over the shoulder of Jimmy Howard at 18:59 of the first period.
Pavelski has scored in all three games since moving to third line center, after recording just one goal in his previous 18 games.
The Sharks’ took advantage of Brian Lashoff’s turnover in the defensive zone in the third period for an insurance marker. Joe Thornton gained control and fed Burns, whose rising wrist shot beat Howard high to the glove side. All 10 of Burns’ points (5g, 5a) have come since he moved to forward nine games ago.
Niemi’s best saves came with the Sharks preserving their two-goal cushion in the third. He smothered a deflection attempt from Drew Miller in the slot midway through, and turned away a backhander from Henrik Zetterberg alone in front of the net as a Red Wings power play was expiring with about seven minutes left.
The Red Wings’ five-game road winning streak came to an end, and they concluded a four-game road trip with a 3-1-0 mark.
The Sharks had a pair of two-on-one rushes in the first period, but passed up open shots on both. Prior to his goal, Pavelski tried to set up Ryane Clowe, but defenseman Ian White broke up the attempted pass through the slot. Later, Burns tried to set up Marty Havlat, but couldn’t connect with the winger.
Detroit had the better zone time in the second period, especially early, but couldn’t solve Niemi. The Sharks’ defense did a good job of keeping the Red Wings’ lethal scorers from getting in prime scoring areas, despite some fancy moves from Pavel Datsyuk, especially.
The teams meet for the third and final time on April 11 at Joe Louis Arena.
TJ Galiardi’s hooking penalty at 10:44 of the third period was the first and only penalty of the game.
It was the first game all season the Sharks did not have a single power play opportunity.
Niemi made his 21st start in the last 22 games, improving to 9-2-2 in his career against Detroit, including 4-0-1 at HP Pavilion. It was the second time in his career he’s shut out the Red Wings, and first as a Shark.
Howard, who didn’t play in Detroit’s previous game in Phoenix, made 22 saves on 24 shots. He’s 3-5-2 career against San Jose.
The Sharks lineup was unchanged from Wednesday night, as Adam Burish and Michal Handzus remained the healthy scratches.
Detroit’s Johan Franzen left after the second period with a lower body injury and did not return.
The Sharks’ homestand continues with games every other day beginning on Saturday night against Phoenix. The Canucks, Wild, Flames and Stars all visit next week.