Despite finding themselves in an early hole again, the Sharks scored three unanswered goals to start their road trip off on a positive note, beating the Red Wings 3-2 on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Melker Karlsson, Matt Nieto and Joe Pavelski scored for San Jose, which was playing in the first of a six straight away from home over a 10-day stretch.
Martin Jones went the distance with 26 saves, after he had been pulled in two of his last three starts, including Tuesday against the Islanders in the Sharks’ most recent game.
The Sharks managed just 14 shots on goal.
For the seventh time in the last eight games the Sharks found themselves behind 1-0, but a Karlsson goal helped turn the tide. In just his second game of the season, Karlsson crashed the crease after Joe Thornton drove the puck towards the net, and managed to poke the puck through Jimmy Howard at 7:41.
Nieto’s third goal –- and first at even strength –- increased that lead before the end of the opening frame. Nieto’s wraparound try was sealed off by Howard, but the winger stayed with the rebound and flipped it high over the Detroit netminder at 17:52.
Pavelski’s ninth goal was the only scoring of the second period. In typical Pavelski fashion, the captain perfectly angled his stick to redirect a Paul Martin saucer into the twine at 10:23.
San Jose improved to 8-1-0 in its last nine visits to Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit opened the scoring. On a three-on-two rush, Tomas Tatar let fly from the top of the circle and beat Jones at 3:13 of the first period.
That was all Jones would allow until late. Teemu Pulkkinen’s goal with the Howard pulled for an extra attacker at 18:08 of the third kept the Red Wings in the game until the final horn, but some solid work by Tommy Wingels and Thornton in the final minute prevented the Red Wings from getting another late scoring chance.
The Sharks and Red Wings will meet once more at SAP Center on Jan. 7.
The Sharks had just one power play, failing to convert. They are 0-for-14 over the last six games, entering the night with the league’s worst power play percentage.
Detroit was 0-for-2 with a man advantage. San Jose is 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in the last three games.
Jones was facing the Red Wings for the first time in his career. The Sharks had some sloppy moments with the puck, but their goaltender bailed them out on more than one occasion in improving to 7-5-0.
Howard got the start over Petr Mrazek, as the Detroit goalies have been platooning for the better part of the season. He’s 4-7-4 in his career against the Sharks, and 3-4-1 on the year, making just 11 saves.
The most notable change to the Sharks’ lineup was Patrick Marleau starting at center for the first time since a three-game stretch last January. He skated between Joel Ward and Nikolay Goldobin, and nearly scored in a partial breakaway early in the third.
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk was making his season debut after undergoing ankle surgery.
The Sharks are back in action right away against the Sabres on Saturday, and will be looking for their first back-to-back wins since the first four games. They have lost eight straight in Buffalo (0-7-1), and are just 1-15-1 there all-time.
After two days off, the road trip continues in Boston on Nov. 17.