Although the San Jose Sharks got back on the winning track, they expect a much more difficult game their next time out.
The Sharks look for a 10th win in 11 games Saturday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings, who are expected to give Jimmy Howard(notes) his eighth straight start in goal after a spectacular performance.
San Jose (28-9-7) had its season-high eight-game win streak snapped Monday with a 6-2 loss to Los Angeles, but bounced back with a 2-1 overtime win over St. Louis on Wednesday. Dany Heatley(notes) scored the winner.
“I think it was a good recovery for us,” coach Todd McLellan said. “I still think we will have to be better Saturday night against the Wings.”
The Sharks looked listless in allowing the first six goals to the Kings, and trailed 1-0 after two periods Wednesday before Patrick Marleau’s(notes) power-play goal tied it and set the stage for Heatley.
“We think we can win every night,” Heatley said. “Obviously that’s not going to happen but we feel we have the team that can compete every night and the loss to L.A. wasn’t good enough for us.”
San Jose will be facing Howard for the first time. The goaltender is still considered Chris Osgood’s(notes) backup, but that may change soon as he is 4-2-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average in his career-high seven straight starts.
Howard carried Detroit (22-15-6) to a 2-1 victory at Los Angeles on Thursday with a career-high 51 saves. He stopped his first 51 shots before allowing Ryan Smyth’s(notes) tying goal with 4:22 to go, but Darren Helm(notes) scored the winner with 18 seconds left.
“It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it,” Howard said. “It was fun to be a part of a game like that. I just continued to battle and the guys continued to battle in front of me.”
Detroit winger Dan Cleary returned from a 12-game absence due to a separated shoulder, while Henrik Zetterberg(notes) was back after missing eight games with the same problem. The injury-plagued Red Wings are without Jason Williams(notes), Jonathan Ericsson(notes), Niklas Kronwall(notes), Johan Franzen(notes) and Tomas Holmstrom(notes).
Holmstrom missed his first game after breaking his foot during practice Wednesday. He leads the Red Wings with 15 goals and is expected to be out at least three weeks.
“Well, what are you going to do?” coach Mike Babcock said. “You’re allowed to feel sorry for yourself for a second. I actually even called my wife and she told me to suck it up. So I mean you gotta find a way to win.”
The Red Wings beat the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 5 in their only matchup this season. Detroit allowed 10 goals in dropping both visits to San Jose in 2008-09.
Detroit’s penalty kill has been outstanding at 89.9 percent since Nov. 27.