ALAMEDA, Calif. – Marty Havlat scored with 1:37 remaining in overtime to get the San Jose Sharks back into playoff position with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
Havlat was stopped once by Jimmy Howard, and then after a scramble in front of the net, lifted the rebound over Howard to give the Sharks their first back-to-back victories since Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
Havlat, who returned from a 39-game absence from a hamstring injury Thursday, also scored late in the first for the Sharks, who moved into a tie for eighth place with Los Angeles in the Western Conference with a game in hand.
Joe Pavelski also scored and Antti Niemi made 33 saves for the Sharks, who have seven points in their last four games following a five-game losing streak.
Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Red Wings, who have lost four straight.
The Red Wings fell to 16-20-2 on the road this season and if they don't fix those issues soon, might end up starting the playoffs away from home for a change. They trail first-place St. Louis by six points in the Central Division and lead Nashville by only two points for fourth place in the Western Conference.
The two teams talked about being desperate coming into the game with the Sharks looking to get into playoff position and the Red Wings trying to find their stride heading into the postseason.
That was clearly evident on the ice as the teams that battled in the second round of the playoffs the past two seasons played with playoff-type intensity throughout an entertaining contest that was similar to the two series won by the Sharks the past two springs.
The Red Wings got the equalizer shortly after killing off a power play midway through the third period. After San Jose had trouble getting the puck out of its end, Filppula took control just outside the blue line, skated in and beat Niemi from the faceoff circle with a shot into the top of the net for his 23rd goal.
While the Red Wings got Datsyuk back after missing 11 games because of right knee surgery, they were far from full strength. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is back home nursing an ankle injury and leading goal scorer Johan Franzen missed the game with back spasms.
Datsyuk did make an immediate impact, scoring off a seemingly impossible angle when he lifted the puck over Niemi from the bottom of the faceoff circle for his 17th goal with 1:14 left in the first period.
The goal came 23 seconds after Havlat got his first goal back from injury to give San Jose a 2-0 lead. Havlat beat Howard with a wrist shot while using Brad Stuart as a screen for his third goal of the season.
The Sharks also scored on the game's opening shift when Pavelski beat Howard for his career-high tying 25th goal just 48 seconds into the game.
Notes: Doug Janik assisted on Filppula's goal for his first point since Jan. 9, 2010, also against San Jose. ... Detroit F Darren Helm went to the locker room in the third period after a collision with Dominic Moore. ... Sharks F Tommy Wingels missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Pavelski has scored 25 goals in three of the past four seasons.