Thibault stopped 18 shots for his league-leading second shutout of the season and Steve Sullivan had a hand in both goals as the Blackhawks extended their road unbeaten streak against the Red Wings to nine games with a 2-0 blanking.
Coming off Sunday's 4-1 loss to Edmonton, Thibault became the first visiting goaltender to record a shutout against Detroit since he won by the same score on December 17, 2001. He preserved a 1-0 lead with 1:35 remaining when he stopped a wide-open Sergei Fedorov from the low slot.
"I just tried to hold my ground and let him beat me with a good shot," Thibault said. "I got a little lucky because the puck bounced on his blade. But I was just going to go 1-on-1 and tell him, 'Beat me with a good shot, buddy.'" "Obviously, it would have been nice to have a closer shot. But for some reason, I couldn't get the puck to settle down so I could hit the puck at the right moment," Fedorov said. "Obviously, I didn't have much on it when I shot it."
The Red Wings have been one of the NHL's top home teams while winning three Stanley Cups in the last six years. But they fell to 0-6-3 against Chicago at Joe Louis Arena since April 2, 1999.
"I think a few years back, we really played against them well," Fedorov said. "We really beat them a lot in this building. They have a hard-working team, no question about it."
"I think we're scared, not that we're going to get killed or anything, but we know if we don't play our best game (here), they'll beat us," Thibault said. "At the same time, we know we can beat them by playing a great game. We don't win all the time, but we usually give them great battles."
Sullivan scored the only goal Thibault needed 76 seconds into the second period, then helped set up Andrei Nikolishin's insurance tally with 68 seconds to go in the third.
The Blackhawks won for the first time in four road games this season (1-2-1) while dropping the defending Stanley Cup champions to 1-3-1 in their last five contests.
"We weren't happy with our last couple of games," Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. "Obviously, you're playing the Stanley Cup champions. This meant a little more to us. We knew we were better than the last couple of games and we got a real gutsy effort from a lot of people."
"I hate losing," said Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace, who made 21 saves. "We're trying to get out of a slump here. These guys are strugging on the road and we couldn't take advantage of it."
Legace was the best player in a scoreless first period. He stopped seven shots, including point-blank attempts by Mark Bell and Sullivan.
But Sullivan got even early in the second, bursting down the slot and deflecting a soft centering pass from Alex Zhamnov.
"It seems like every game, we get three or four great scoring chances and they won't go in," Sullivan said. "My coaches and teammates have been staying positive with me. Tonight, I got stoned again a couple of times in the first period and the boys said, 'Your day will come.' And it did."
"Sullivan made a great play when he batted it out of the air, through my legs and in," Legace said.
The teams combined for just 10 shots in the third period, with Thibault's big save on Fedorov keeping the Red Wings at bay.
"In the third period, we were on our heels. They don't get any bigger than that save on Fedorov at the end," Sullivan said.
Nikolishin gave the Blackhawks some breathing room with his first goal since being acquired from Washington last week.
"I lost it coming out of the corner," Legace said. "It hit my skate, then just hit another skate, went right back onto his stick and was in the net. He just got lucky."
Detroit was without left wing Brendan Shanahan, who was attending a funeral in Toronto.