Mrazek made 35 saves and set up Abdelkader’s goal with 6:52 remaining to help the Red Wings beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night for their third straight win.
The Sharks had two huge opportunities in the third period to break a 1-1 tie, but Mrazek reached back and gloved the first one and then got his stick down in time to block the second chance. The latter led to Abdelkader’s go-ahead goal.
“He’s a real athletic goalie,” Abdelkader said of Mrazek. “He can really move side to side. That was the turning point of the game.”
Abdelkader scored after Pavel Datsyuk skated coast-to-coast and shot from an odd angle to create a huge rebound that Abdelkader fired in.
“It was a good play by that line,” Abdelkader said. “I came off the bench and it was perfect timing coming out to that slot.”
Danny DeKeyser also scored and Detroit remained perfect midway through a six-game trip. Mrazek has started each of those three games and allowed four goals in that time.
“It was a lucky save,” Mrazek said. “It hit my stick and we score a goal.”
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was having none of it.
“It’s a fine line between winning and losing in this league,” Blashill said. “That was a huge save at a key moment. The bigger the moment doesn’t affect his play. He wants to be in those situations.”
Joel Ward scored for San Jose, but the Sharks lost their third in four games and fell to a league-worst 5-12 at home. Martin Jones had 23 saves.
“It’s definitely frustrating. You get a good chance on one end and the next thing you know they come down and score,” Ward said. “I knew the goalie was leaning and I wanted to catch him leaning but he made a pretty good save and then they score on the rush.”
The Sharks had converted 10 of their past 28 power-play opportunities but failed to convert on three power plays against the Red Wings.
“The penalty kill was really good, some of the best of the season,” Abdelkader said. “We still need to be better. Petr helped us out on too many great chances for them.”
DeKeyser beat the Sharks defense down the ice on a counter midway through the first period and took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg. He then beat Jones to the upper-right corner for his first goal in 14 games and his first point in eight games.
The Sharks tied it less than 2 minutes later on Ward’s redirect of Brent Burns‘ shot. Logan Couture set the goal in motion, winning a faceoff and getting the puck to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who passed to Burns at the top of the zone.
The Sharks had several chances in the final 10 minutes of the contest but the Red Wings were able to fend them off before taking the lead.
Michigan football coach and former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was in attendance and visited with Red Wings players after the game. … F Tomas Jurco returned to the Red Wings lineup after missing the past two games. … The Sharks recalled G Alex Stalock from a conditioning assignment and sent G Troy Groserick to the AHL. … Detroit All-Star Dylan Larkin had an assist and has points in four straight. … The Sharks host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. … The Red Wings play at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.