SAN JOSE -– Pavel Datsyuk tied the game in the third period, and Luke Glendening scored late in regulation as the Red Wings beat the Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday night, 3-2.
Detroit had a distinct territorial edge for the final two periods, and finally capitalized after pinning the Sharks in their end for long stretches of play.
After failing to convert on a four-minute power play earlier in the third on a Matt Nieto high-stick, an innocent looking backhander by Datsyuk bounced through Antti Niemi at 13:32.
Glendening’s backhander over Niemi’s far shoulder from just outside the crease at 18:45 was the game-winner.
The Sharks were awarded a power play with 40 seconds to go, but failed to convert. They have lost seven straight at home, including Saturday’s defeat at Levi’s Stadium (0-5-2).
After outshooting Detroit 14-4 in the first period, San Jose was outshot by the Red Wings 31-8 for the remainder of the game. The Sharks had just two shots on goal in the third period, and went more than 14 minutes without a shot during one stretch in the second and third periods.
The Sharks are three points out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference after Minnesota’s win earlier in the night. They are just 14-13-5 at home.
The Red Wings fell behind 1-0 in the first, but tied it in the second period. On a power play, Stephen Weiss’ slap shot broke Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick in two. The Detroit forward immediately charged towards the net, and the puck ended up on Riley Sheahan’s stick in the slot. Sheahan pushed it over to Teemu Pulkkinen for an easy one-timer into an open net at 3:53.
San Jose retook the lead with a power play goal of its own, though. It came on a fortunate bounce, when Logan Couture’s slap shot was deflected at the point of contact. The puck slammed into the end boards, but popped right to Patrick Marleau next to the post, who flipped in his 13th goal of the season.
Niemi was the story for the rest of the period in which Detroit outshot the Sharks 18-6.
Late in the frame, the goaltender bailed out Joe Thornton after a blatant turnover, stopping Niklas Kronwall twice with 1:34 to go. On the ensuing faceoff, he let a Pulkkinen shot attempt get by, but dove back in time to pounce on the loose puck that hit the inside of the post with 1:28 to go.
His best save, though, came on a one-timer by Tomas Tatar in the closing seconds of the middle frame, getting his left pad the blast from the circle.
The Sharks controlled most of the first period and took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The goal came courtesy of Matt Irwin, who floated a wrist shot from high in the zone though traffic and past Jimmy Howard at 7:06. It was Irwin’s sixth of the season, and second in the last four games.
Thornton, who assisted on Irwin’s goal, moved into 20th place on the NHL’s all-time assist list with 892, past Dale Hawerchuk.
San Jose lost in regulation at home to Detroit for the first time in seven games (5-1-1). The Sharks had won four in a row against the Red Wings, including both games last season. The teams meet again on March 26 at Joe Louis Arena.
After going 0-for-8 with a man advantage in their previous three games, the Sharks finished 1-for-4 against Detroit.
The Red Wings, who entered with the league’s best power play, went 1-for-5. The Sharks have allowed at least one power play goal against in eight of their last 11 games.
Niemi took the loss with 31 saves on 34 shots, and is 12-3-2 in his career vs. Detroit.
Howard made 20 saves in the win, just his fourth in 14 decisions vs. the Sharks (4-6-4).
Thornton and Joe Pavelski were reunited on the top line, while Marleau and Couture also played together for the first time in four games.
Couture has at least one point in eight of his last 10 games, getting the secondary helper on Marleau’s goal.
Andrew Desjardins was scratched for the third time in the last seven games, while John Scott came back out of the lineup after playing vs. the Kings outdoors on Saturday.
The Sharks will play host to the Eastern Conference’s Ottawa Senators on Saturday, and Montreal Canadiens on Monday. They have yet to play either of those two teams this season.
They visit Vancouver for the second game of a back-to-back on Tuesday, March 3.