DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings followed their new game plan perfectly.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored in the shootout to lift Detroit to a 2-1 win over San Jose, halting the Sharks’ six-game winning streak.
Zetterberg also had a goal in regulation, and Chris Osgood made 33 saves for Detroit, which isn’t the high-scoring team it has been the past few years.
After the free-agent losses of Marian Hossa and Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler’s decision to play in Russia, the Red Wings knew they would have to play better defensively and grind out games more. But early season long-term injuries to talented forwards Johan Franzen (knee) and Valtteri Filppula (broken wrist) have made Detroit more of a defence-oriented team.
“We’re not going to win the same way we did before,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We don’t have the team to do that.”
Datsyuk and Zetterberg, both centres, were also big parts of the defensive effort. Zetterberg went head-to-head with Joe Thornton, and Datsyuk faced Patrick Marleau all night.
“He’s (Marleau) been their best player,” Babcock said. “That’s why I wanted Pav to play against him.”
Osgood also had his third good game in a row – a big reason for the Red Wings’ three-game winning streak – after a slow start.
“He gave us confidence to play well in front of him,” Zetterberg said.
Logan Couture scored his first NHL goal for San Jose. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 35 shots.
“We fought hard for the one point, and we got five out of six on the road,” Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle said. “We would have taken that before the road trip started.”
Even though Detroit trailed 1-0 late in the second period and early in the third, captain Nicklas Lidstrom said the Red Wings remained calm.
“Even when you’re behind, you can’t panic and take chances,” he said. “We stuck to the game plan.”
They were rewarded when Zetterberg tied it 1-1 at 5:38 of the third period. He poked a puck in from under Nabokov’s pad for his fourth goal.
“The puck was laying there, I just hoped the referees didn’t blow the whistle,” Zetterberg said. “I came late from a change and no one saw me coming in there.”
Couture opened the scoring with 5:19 left in the second period when he beat Osgood with a wrist shot from the right circle.
Notes: Detroit public address announcer Budd Lynch was honoured before the game. It was the 60th anniversary of his first television play-by-play broadcast of a Red Wings game. Lynch, 92 and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, also worked in the team’s public relations office. He has been the public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena for 24 years. Fans received a Budd Lynch bobblehead. … San Jose D and captain Rob Blake didn’t play because of an upper-body injury. His left arm was in a sling. … Detroit defencemen Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson returned after missing a game with the flu. … San Jose head equipment manager Mike Aldrich worked his 1,000th NHL game.