Red Wings defenseman on importance of playing well after the All-Star break. Ted Kulfan
Detroit — The shootout remains a good friend for the Detroit Red Wings.
They won their fourth try in the tie-breaking procedure in five tries Wednesday, defeating the San Jose Sharks 2-1 — 4-3 in the seven-round shootout. Justin Abdelkader broke the tie in the seventh round, while goaltender Petr Mrazek turned aside San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.
“It’s tough to watch those,” said Abdelkader of the lengthy shootouts. “We’ve been good in shootouts. Petr made some great saves against some real good shooters and good players.
“I had no idea if I was going or not. I saw guys were successful on getting Jones moving a bit so I tried to get him to go down and move from there. Fortunately, it went in.
“It’s a good way for us to find two points in the first game back (from All-Star break).”
The Red Wings (20-21-8, 48 points) won their second game in the last six and moved to within eight points of the final wild-card spot.
The task is still huge, but the Red Wings have to begin somewhere.
“That’s a character win,” said Trevor Daley, who scored the lone regulation goal after missing three games with a lower-body injury. “We had the lead, lost it, and we managed to find a way to win. That builds character. We just have to build off it and get on a roll.”
Mrazek stopped 30 shots in getting the victory and earning himself another start Friday in Carolina.
Mrazek continues to play with confidence and under control, in his best stretch of hockey in two seasons.
Red Wings coach lauds goaltender who stopped 30 shots in 2-1 shootout win over Sharks. Ted Kulfan
“He feels real confident right now and everyone in this room has seen him at his best,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “When he’s confident like that, he’s a real good goalie. It’s just not on the goalie, it’s how you play in front of him. There have been times we haven’t played good enough in front of him.
“I talked to both goalies (including Jimmy Howard) out of the break, and if one gets hot, he’ll play. Both guys are very capable of it. We need elite goaltending and that’s what this league is. If you don’t get elite goaltending it’s hard to win on a regular basis.
“Both guys can give it to us.”
Mrazek is trying to keep the roll going.
“When you get to play a lot of minutes you get confident and you get the swagger back,” Mrazek said. “I’m trying to build on that.”
San Jose forward Kevin Labanc tied it 1-1 with his sixth goal late in the third period.
Capping a grinding, effective Sharks shift, Labanc got the puck in the high slot and snapped a shot that Mrazek didn’t see.
Daley ended a scoreless game earlier in the period with his fourth goal.
Daley broke into the Sharks zone and flipped an innocent looking shot that squirted through Sharks goalie Martin Jones at 6 minutes, 48 seconds, giving the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.
“I just put it on net and got lucky,” Daley said.
The Red Wings had a season-high 44 shots on net against Jones.
San Jose (26-16-8, 60 points) have gone winless in four games (0-2-2).
Red Wings goalie on playing well in a seven-round shootout for a 2-1 victory over Sharks. Ted Kulfan