Jimmy Howard kept Jonathan Toews in his misery, making three saves against the struggling star to help the Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0, in Detroit on Thursday night in Game 4 of the second-round series, putting the NHL’s best team during the regular season on the brink of elimination.
When Howard wasn’t using his glove or pads to deny Toews, Detroit’s skaters were rattling him and teammates with a physical presence that is clearly making them uncomfortable.
‘‘They are getting frustrated,’’ Howard said. ‘‘Our guys are doing a great job in front of the net.’’
Chicago’s Corey Crawford did a solid job in his net, but he couldn’t kick his right leg out quick enough to stop Jakub Kindl’s shot on a power play midway through the second period and he was on the bench in favor of an extra skater when Daniel Cleary sealed the victory in the final minute.
After losing Game 1, seventh-seeded Detroit has surged into control by handing the Blackhawks their first three-game losing streak of the year.
Game 5 is Saturday night in Chicago.
‘‘The pressure is on them,’’ Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said.
Yes, it is.
And, no one in the Windy City will want to extend the series more than Toews.
‘‘We've got to find a way to force a Game 6,’’ he said.
The Blackhawks desperately need their captain to score and lead after he extended his goal drought in a composure-crumbling performance.
Toews was called for three penalties in the second — two for high-sticking — and could've gone to the box a fourth time in the period for slashing Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg while an official stood between them.
‘‘Emotions run high in some of these games, and my stick got a little loose there,’’ he said. ‘‘I was playing hard. Sometimes that happens.’’
The Red Wings took advantage of the second power play Toews gave them when Kindl sent a low shot to the near corner from the top of the left circle.
‘‘We’d like to keep him in the box,’’ Ericsson said. ‘‘He’s not as good for them in the box.’’
Chicago had killed its first 30 penalties of the playoffs and matched the 2001 St. Louis Blues’ feat of playing eight postseason games without giving up a power-play goal, the longest such streak since 1988.
The Blackhawks had a power play with 4:45 left in the game when Kindl was called for hooking, but they couldn’t tie the score.
Crawford made 25 saves and gave up one goal, after surrendering seven goals in the previous two games.
Howard was just a little bit better, earning his first shutout of this postseason and the second of his career in the playoffs. He has helped the Red Wings win five of their last six games since trailing Anaheim, 3-2, in the first round.
Kings 2, Sharks 0 — Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in his seventh career playoff shutout, and host Los Angeles moved to the brink of its second straight trip to the Western Conference finals with a victory over San Jose in Game 5.
Anze Kopitar and Slava Voynov scored, and Jeff Carter added an empty-net goal as the defending Stanley Cup champions won their 13th consecutive home game in dominant fashion.
Antti Niemi stopped 26 shots for the Sharks, who have played more than 96 minutes without a goal since they appeared to be taking control of the series midway through Game 4.
Game 6 is Sunday night at the Shark Tank.
The home team has won every game in the series, and the Kings remained unbeaten at Staples Center since March 23.