SAN JOSE – Even with Logan Couture out for the next several weeks, there is still plenty of star power on the Sharks’ roster. That was on full display in the 4-1 home win over the Red Wings on Thursday night.
Joe Pavelski had two goals, Joe Thornton tallied two assists to add to his league-leading total, and Dan Boyle and Andrew Desjardins also had markers in a relatively painless victory over Detroit. The Sharks improved to 16-1-3 at SAP Center.
The Sharks took over the game with the only three goals of the second period.
Desjardins broke a 1-1 tie when he chipped the puck past Jakub Kindl in the neutral zone and raced ahead. His bad angle shot beat Jimmy Howard to the short side at 9:44 for his first goal in 32 games.
On the next shift, an early whistle negated a potential Pavelski goal, but the American Olympian got his second of the night anyway shortly after. He found the rebound of a Brad Stuart point shot, skillfully playing it off of his skate, and gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead at 12:25. It was his 22nd career two-goal game.
Boyle’s power play goal, on a wrist shot from the circle after good puck movement, gave San Jose a three-goal cushion with three and a half minutes to go in the middle frame.
The Sharks have alternated wins and losses in their last seven games, going 4-3-0 over that span.
Pavelski took over the team lead in goals with 21, and has eight goals and four assists for 12 points in his last 10 games. He’s still looking for his first career hat trick, and nearly had it with a one-timer towards an open net in the final seconds that just missed.
Thornton added to his league-leading assist total, and has 18 in his last 14 games and 45 overall in 45 games. Sidney Crosby is second in the league with 41.
Pavelski opened the scoring at 4:59 of the first, on a one-timer from Thornton after the captain drove the puck into the offensive zone and slammed on the breaks, creating space. Tomas Tatar tied it at 16:48, cutting to the front of the net around Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who lost his stick earlier in the shift.
The Sharks won both games against Detroit this season, including a 1-0 shootout on Oct. 21 at Joe Louis Arena.
Overall, San Jose has won four in a row over Detroit, and is 11-2-1 in the last 14.
San Jose was 1-for-4 on the power play, and in its last nine games, is 9-for-29 (31.0 percent). Detroit failed on all five of its advantages.
Some chippy play ensued late in the game. Tyler Kennedy was called for slashing Danny DeKeyser and then fought Kyle Quincey with five minutes left. Later, Tommy Wingels and Todd Bertuzzi engaged in a scrum behind the net, and Bertuzzi threw his helmet in Wingels’ direction after the linesmen split them up. Scott Hannan and Danny Cleary fought with less than two minutes to go.
Antti Niemi improved to 12-2-2 in his career against Detroit, making 24 saves.
Howard, who allowed four goals on 23 shots, was relieved by Petr Mrazek to start the third period. Mrazek did not allow a goal.
Wingels returned from a five-game absence with an upper body injury, while Kennedy had missed the previous four with the flu.
James Sheppard was a surprise scratch, meaning Eriah Hayes played in his third career NHL game.
Matt Tennyson was recalled from Worcester as Matt Irwin is out with an upper body injury, but did not play. Freddie Hamilton was reassigned to the AHL before the game.
Detroit was without Pavel Datsyuk, who missed his second straight game with a reported groin injury.
The Sharks host the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Another three-game road trip begins on Jan. 14 in Washington, and continues on to Florida and Tampa Bay.