Lost a bit in the all of the talk of the Sharks’ forward group being decimated by injuries, is that the top guys that are still healthy can carry the team on any given night.

Thursday against Detroit is a prime example, as Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, in particular, paced San Jose’s 4-1 win over the Red Wings. Along with Brent Burns, the top line thoroughly outplayed the opposition’s top line of Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist (later replaced by Justin Abdelkader).

Pavelski’s two-goal performance stood out. The 29-year-old potted a pair of goals, leads the team with 21, and nearly had his first career hat trick after 22 multiple-goal efforts without a third. His one-timer from the circle in the game’s final minute sailed high, despite some room to shoot.

"We’re going to have to see the video. Guys say it was [close],” Pavelski said, with a smile. He later added: “It’ll happen, I bet. Hopefully. We’ll see, we’ll keep trying. That was one of the better looks I’ve had at it, though.”

Recently named to his second straight Olympics, Pavelski was given a high compliment from his coach following his latest impressive performance. The Wisconsin native has eight goals and 12 points in his last 10 games, and has thrived on the Thornton line since injuries forced McLellan to take him off of the third line.

“When the team really needs him, he elevates his game,” McLellan said. “That’s the sign of a real good player. Again, playing with the two players that he does, he’s just got to get himself in the right spot and find pucks, and he took advantage of it again.”

Thornton rebounded from a rare poor performance in Nashville in Tuesday's 3-2 loss, aggressively driving the offensive zone, slamming on the breaks to create separation from a defender, and spotting Pavelski in the slot five minutes into the first period.

The captain earned a secondary assist later, on Dan Boyle’s late second period power play goal that gave the Sharks a three-goal lead to cap the scoring. He continues to lead the NHL in assists, with 45 in 45 games.

It was a rare goal from Andrew Desjardins, though, that really turned the tide. The fourth liner used the wall to get past Jakub Kindl in the neutral zone, and lifted a shot from inside the faceoff dot that somehow snuck through the short side of Jimmy Howard midway through regulation.