Mike Babcock is wary of plans because they so often go awry, but nearly halfway through the Detroit Red Wings' season, it appears he's found a defense corps that can make things happen.

Babcock again praised the group of six that helped deliver a 2-1 shootout victory Thursday at HP Pavilion against the Sharks. It was the same suspects that Babcock saw much good during Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Los Angeles: Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl.

"I liked our D tonight," Babcock said. "I thought it was the best group we've had all year. We looked like a hockey team at times."

That's heady praise, and high-time Babcock was able to say it. The Wings came into the season with a defense reeling after losing Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart in the off-season and not scoring any replacements via free agency. Then Ericsson got hurt, then Carlo Colaiacovo. Guys dropped like dominoes, to the point Kronwall is the only defenseman who has played every game.

"We've had a number of people not available to us, and I'm not trying to make excuses at all, but that was the best that I've thought we looked," Babcock said.

Kronwall, Ericsson, Smith and Quincey were the top-four at the start of the season, so no surprises they're in the group. Smith had missed 11 games before Wednesday with a sprained shoulder, and his skill set was a big addition. Quincey is capable of way more offense than the first point of the season he contributed Wednesday, but at least he's stepped up his game in his own zone.