A 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday lifted the Detroit Red Wings into sole possession of the National Hockey League’s top spot. The Red Wings’ 102 points moved them ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who have 100, and the Carolina Hurricanes, who have 98 points.
The game marked the first time this season that San Jose was held off the scoreboard, leaving the Red Wings as the only team in the league to have scored in all of their games.
The shutout was Detroit goalie Manny Legace’s sixth of the season. He stopped 28 shots on the night but was only truly tested for part of the third period.
San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves on 30 shots.
After a scoreless opening period, the Red Wings got on the board at 1:47 of the second. Mathieu Schneider fired a blast from the blue line along the ice and Tomas Holmstrom got a stick on it in front of the crease, lifting it off a defender and over Nabokov’s shoulder.
Jason Williams put Detroit up by a pair just 1:18 into the third period. Robert Lang caused a turnover on the right wing boards in the San Jose zone and centered to Williams, who was open near the crease to bang home a chance.
A power play goal by Steve Yzerman 1:41 later extended Detroit’s lead. After Nabokov stopped a long Nicklas Lidstrom shot, the rebound was lost in the low slot. Yzerman found it before anyone else, and with Nabokov still looking for the puck, he put it into an open side of the net.
Playing in his first game back from a wrist injury, Mikael Samuelsson finished the game’s scoring with 6:18 remaining, taking a cross-ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg before skating through the left circle and wristing a shot that was deflected by Joe Thrornton and over Nabokov’s shoulder.
Detroit finished the night one-for-three on the power play while stopping all of San Jose’s five attempts.
The Red Wings continue their stretch of eight games in 14 nights when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.