SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- The Detroit Red Wings made a seamless transition under new coach Dave Lewis, getting two goals apiece from Kirk Maltby and Sergei Fedorov in a season-opening 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Lewis took over for Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman after spending nine years as one of the Red Wings' associate coaches. But while the man behind the bench is new, most of the players on it are not.
All six goals were scored by veterans of Detroit's third Stanley Cup championship in six years. Curtis Joseph stopped 23 shots in his debut for the Red Wings, who extended the NHL's longest current winning streak in season openers to four games.
"I was very happy with the play here," Lewis said. "It is not easy to play in San Jose, but we kept our composure, even when they came at us strong in the third period."
"That was great. It was his first crack at head coach and he gets a win," Joseph added. "Everyone is happy for him after the game and someone got him the game puck."
Vincent Damphousse collected two goals and an assist for the Sharks, who celebrated their first Pacific Division championship during pregame ceremonies but never led and dropped their third straight opener.
"I think we had some guys that looked really uptight early and we had a lot of guys that played a real sloppy, soft game, even though there were some goals that shouldn't have been scored," San Jose coach Darryl Sutter said. "We didn't win too many battles on the boards or at the blue lines, and we made some sloppy plays passing the puck."
The Red Wings had a novel method of dealing with the NHL's crackdown on obstruction - score while killing penalties.
Defenseman Chris Chelios was in the penalty box when Sharks defenseman Mike Rathje mishandled the puck in his own zone. Maltby picked it up, swooped down the right side and beat goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff at 2:01 of the first period.
Five minutes later, with teammate Maxim Kuznetsov serving a double-minor, Maltby broke in 2-on-1. He got a pass from long-time linemate Kris Draper and whipped a one-timer by Kiprusoff from the left faceoff circle.
"I think that the special teams are a very big part to a team's success, and for us, we take a lot of pride on the penalty-kill," Maltby said. "We just need to force them to turn the puck over."
Ironically, Brendan Shanahan scored a pair of shorthanded goals for Detroit in a season-opening win at San Jose last year.
"There were a lot of penalties in this game. I think that we got six straight, but big credit to the penalty-killers," Joseph said.
Damphousse put the Sharks on the board midway through the first period, but Tomas Holmstrom got the goal back on the power play with 3:49 to go.
Fedorov sandwiched his goals in the second period around Damphousse's second goal of the night. The speedy Russian beat Kiprusoff from almost an identical spot in the right circle to make it 5-2.
"It is only the first game. I think that teams will get better," Fedorov said. "We just have to work on taking penalties. I think that everyone was a little nervous and uncomfortable with the first regular-season game. But we have a lot of work to do."
Two-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom gave Detroit a four-goal cushion with two minutes left in the second period. His shot from the right side was stopped in front, but Kiprusoff got tied up with Rathje and ended up knocking the puck into his own net.
With defenseman Brad Stuart and No. 1 goalie Evgeni Nabokov unsigned, Kiprusoff surrendered all six goals on 15 shots and was replaced by rookie Vesa Toskala to start the third period.
"It is no excuse," Kiprusoff said. "It was a tough game for me and there is nothing that I can do now. I just have to look to the next game. There are no excuses."
"Our No. 1 goalie started the game tonight," Sutter said. "The other side of it is business. I cannot deal with players that are not in the locker room."
Rathje got a power-play goal in the opening minute of the third period, but there was no comeback for San Jose, which is 5-25-0 all-time against Joseph.
"We were an emotional group tonight and we had no focus," Sharks captain Owen Nolan said. "We had early mistakes and they capitalized and burned us on all of them."
"Bottom line is their team is so deep through the lineup," Sutter said. "You have to play errorless hockey against them and you have to compete. If you give up three goals, you are not going to win very many hockey games in this league."