DETROIT -- The Red Wings gave their undefeated opponent very little room to maneuver, scant space to score.
Then again, the San Jose Sharks did the same to the Wings. In a game well below the exciting, action-driven events common between these sometime rivals, Monday's affair at Joe Louis Arena was something of a snoozer.
The Wings wound up losing, 1-0, after a shoot-out that saw Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi all unable to convert. Logan Couture had the only goal as the Sharks improved to 8-0-1, yet to leave a game without a point.
"Both teams had a hard time generating chances," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It was a tight game and it was a well-played game for this point in the year."
Playing 48 hours after a weak finish in Phoenix left the Wings on the losing end, they were hoping to hand the Sharks their first regulation loss of the season, but the Sharks barely let the Wings near the net. The Wings ended up with 24 shots to San Jose's 27.
"You could tell, early on, it was two teams that were tired from traveling all day yesterday," Jimmy Howard said. "It was one of those games for a goalie, they're even more difficult to play in, because one screwup could cost you the game."
It wasn't until the third period that the Wings were able to show some creativity with the puck, with several good shots on Antti Niemi. Brendan Smith benefited from some nice setup work by Henrik Zetterberg, so much so Smith raised his hands in disbelief when his shot was blocked.
The Wings got a power play out of the same sequence, just their second of the game, and coming after killing off three San Jose man advantages. Two minutes worth of passing perfection later, it was still 0-0, headed straight past regulation and into an uneventful overtime.
Howard finished with 27 saves to earn his first shutout of the season.
"I thought we did a good job on their top guys," Howard said. "We didn't give them a lot of room. Another thing that really was a positive, we didn't give up a lot of odd-man rushes. That's been an Achilles heel for us of late in games. We didn't turn pucks over, and that's a good sign."
The Wings had to make do without defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who is concussed, as well as Jonathan Ericsson, who had familial duties after welcoming a baby girl. The Sharks were without Dan Boyle and Brent Burns.
Kronwall is expected to be cleared in time to return Wednesday, when the Wings host Ottawa. Colorado's Cody McLeod was suspended five games for the hit from behind.
The absence of their top two defensemen forced the Wings to field a very young defense, with 28-year-old Kyle Quincey the most experienced, and at the other end, 20-year-old Xavier Ouellet, making his NHL debut.
"Those young D did a good job for Howie," Babcock said. "They didn't give up anything."
The Wings held the Sharks to seven shots the first 20 minutes, almost half of what opponents usually get. Offensively, however, the Wings got precious little going against Niemi; he had to make four saves the entire period, and two of those were on Danny DeKeyser.
Midway through the second period, Alfredsson jolted a crowd half-lulled by stingy defense when he sneaked up on the net and threatened with a short shot after a nice setup by Johan Franzen. Precious little happened otherwise--for either side. The Wings had 11 shots after 40 minutes. The Sharks, 19.
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