DETROIT - It took the top team in the NHL to bring out the best in the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Ty Conklin made 24 saves for his sixth NHL shutout and Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and two assists to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-0 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. San Jose has the NHL's best record (25-4-3), but the Sharks lost for the second straight night. They fell at Columbus 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday.
The Sharks are on pace to challenge Detroit's NHL record of 62 wins in a season in 1995-96 and the Montreal Canadiens' mark of 132 points in 1976-77.
The Red Wings have the second-best record in the Western Conference (21-6-4), but they haven't played well, particular defensively. Detroit has had a habit of falling behind early and then being forced to rally late.
"So far, it's our first real good game. I think, so far, it's our best game," Datsyuk said. "Now we just need to keep going, keep going, grind like that, play our game."
Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, and Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and Brad Stuart also scored. Brett Lebda added two assists in Conklin's second shutout of the season.
"I think we all are confident in here. I think we all have a strong belief that we're one of the top clubs, for sure, in the league," Conklin said.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 22 shots for San Jose, who played for the third time in four nights.
"We can use the excuse that we had three games in four nights, but that's just an excuse," Sharks forward Ryane Clowe said. "Just embarrassing to play these guys ... like we're happy with ourselves."
It was an unhappy return for San Jose coach Todd McLellan, who was a Detroit assistant under head coach Mike Babcock the past three seasons.
"Just flat out they were better in every situation," McLellan said. "We can come down off of our perch and everybody can look at each other and realize that we've still got some work to do."
Detroit scored on successive shots in a span of 1:27 late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead after San Jose had carried most of the play to that point.
Franzen opened the scoring with 5:29 left in the first with his 14th goal. He beat Nabokov over his glove with a wrist shot from the high slot on the rush.
"I think we played well in the first period, but I think that first goal changed the momentum and changed everything," said Nabokov, who thought he should have made the save. "It was such an easy shot. I thought I had it in my glove."
Datsyuk also scored from the high slot, putting a wrist shot between Nabokov's pads with 4:02 left.
Hossa made it 3-0 at 9:18 of the second period when he snapped a one-timer off Nabokov's blocker and into the top of the net from the high slot. It was Hossa's 17th goal.
"We really responded well as a team," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We didn't give them any goals and took the game over in that second period."
Filppula got his fifth goal, 7:25 into the second period, when he tapped a cross-crease pass into the empty net.
Datsyuk's second of the game and 10th of the season came with 7:31 left.
Stuart scored his first of the season with 3:31 remaining.
Notes: Detroit G Chris Osgood didn't play because of a sore groin. ... San Jose RW Jonathan Cheechoo returned after missing eight games with an upper body injury. ... Sharks C Joe Pavelski came back after a two-game absence caused by a lower body injury. ... The Red Wings are in talks with the NHL about the possibility of opening next season in Stockholm, Sweden, against the St. Louis Blues. Detroit has seven players from Sweden. ... San Jose defeated Detroit 4-2 in San Jose on Oct. 30.