DETROIT -- Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks helped to prove his coach wrong Thursday.
Todd McLellan told the Sharks they couldn't expect to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in a high-scoring game. But Marleau scored two third-period goals to lead San Jose to a 6-4 victory against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena.
"Shows how wrong I can be," McLellan said after the highest-scoring game involving the Sharks since they defeated the Boston Bruins 7-4 on Dec. 4.
Antti Niemi made 30 saves, Chris Tierney and Logan Couture each had a goal and an assist, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Matt Nieto also scored for San Jose (36-30-8), which remained 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Division. The Jets defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2.
"Right now, we're looking at every game and saying, 'Let's get two points. Let's get two points,'" Tierney said.
Tomas Jurco, Tomas Tatar, Stephen Weiss and Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit (39-22-12), which is third in the Atlantic Division, five points ahead of the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins.
The Red Wings have allowed 11 goals in their past two games; they lost 5-4 in overtime to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.
"Two games in a row where we're not playing good defense. It's tough to win when you have to score five, six goals," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We're doing this to ourselves. We have to play with more patience. We're giving the other team too many chances. We know what we're doing wrong; we just have to turn it around."
Jimmy Howard allowed three goals on 10 shots before being pulled after the first period on his 31st birthday. Howard has allowed eight goals on 32 shots in his past two games.
"Obviously it didn't go the way he wanted. He's a proud guy, we gave him an opportunity to bounce back and he didn't do that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We'll give [Petr] Mrazek an opportunity here. He'll get the start next game." The Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.
Mrazek relieved Howard and made 17 saves in the final 40 minutes.
Detroit was without forward Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) for the fifth consecutive game. Forward Erik Cole missed the game because of an upper-body injury.
Weiss put in a rebound at 3:39 of the final period to make it 4-3. It was his eighth goal. But Marleau restored the Sharks' two-goal lead 1:17 later, beating Mrazek with a shot from the right circle.
Abdelkader was credited with his 22nd goal of the season off a scramble in front of the net to make it 5-4 at 7:27. But Marleau put the game away by hitting the empty net with 1:17 remaining. It was his 17th goal of the season.
"On the offensive side, we were really good," Marleau said. "On the defensive side, there are some things we've got to clean up. But we'll take the win."
San Jose led 3-2 after the first period.
Vlasic opened the scoring 19 seconds after the opening faceoff on the first shot of the game. After a turnover by Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, Vlasic's shot from the left point hit a Red Wings player and deflected past Howard for his ninth goal.
Nieto made it 2-0 at 9:14 when he scored from just outside the crease. His eighth goal of the season came on a shot went off the inside of the post, off Howard and into the net.
Jurco put Detroit on the board 50 seconds later when he scored from a goalmouth scramble. It was Jurco's third goal of the season and first in 40 games.
Tatar tied it 1:40 later when he tipped in defenseman Danny DeKeyser's shot from the point after DeKeyser intercepted Tierney's ill-advised pass into the middle from the right corner.
But Tierney put the Sharks back in front at 16:02. His attempted pass went off the skate of Detroit's Joakim Andersson, who was skating through the crease, and slid into the net.
Couture made it a 4-2 game 31 seconds into the third period when he beat Mrazek with a wrist shot from the right circle that went in off the far goal post. It was Couture's 24th goal and was the result of a turnover by Gustav Nyquist.
"That was a big goal. They pushed us the last two-three minutes of the second period," McLellan said. "We haven't been getting too many good bounces but we got a good on there off the post. So, it was good for us."