Howard lost the No. 1 goaltender job to Petr Mrazek last season, and Nyquist slumped to 17 goals after combining for 55 the previous two seasons.
"I feel like it's coming there," Howard said of his game. "The little things we've been working on. Little bit more patience."
Howard was spectacular in a 2-1 road win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, and Nyquist has three goals in his last two games.
"It's always nice to score goals and it's nice to see the team play the way we did on a back-to-back," he said. "I thought we came out and skated really hard and seemed to have a lot of energy. That was good to see."
The Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Friday night.
Andreas Athanasiou also scored for Detroit, which won its fourth straight after losing its first two games of the season.
"Our play. I thought we were on our game pretty good," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "The back-to-back when you don't travel, I don't think is as big a deal, but I just thought we did a real good job of getting back above the puck, creating turnovers. I thought we played real fast, I thought we attacked up the ice fast so our speed looked good."
San Jose goalie Martin Jones stopped 29 shots. The defending Western Conference champions have lost three of four.
"We just aren't dedicated to defense the way we were last year," Logan Couture said. "We're not playing well, and we're lucky to be 3-3-0 at this point. We just have to play better. That's all it is."
Howard got his 23rd career shutout and his first this season.
Nyquist scored twice in the second period to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. He has three goals on the season.
He beat Jones 4:14 in from the right circle to complete a 2-on-1 rush. Nyquist's next goal came with 4:40 left, putting a shot off Jones and into the net from the inside part of the right circle.
San Jose defenseman Brent Burns hit the goal post on a backhand shot from the left circle as time ran out in the second period.
"We were late everywhere tonight, and when you are a step behind a team like that, they are going to take advantage," San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said. "We talked about their transition game, and then we gave away the puck and played right into their hands."
Athanasiou was placed in the lineup after Justin Abdelkader was a late scratch. Athanasiou scored 6:05 into the third with a slap shot from the top of the left circle off the rush that beat Jones high on the far side. It was Athanasiou's first goal of the season.
NOTE: San Jose concluded a five-game road trip. ... Detroit also played Friday night -- a 5-3 win against the Nashville Predators -- and only a few players participated in an optional morning skate Saturday. ... This DeBoer's last trip to Joe Louis Arena, where he began his coaching career in the Ontario Hockey League in the early 1990s with the Detroit Jr. Red Wings (now the Flint Firebirds).
Sharks: Host Ducks on Tuesday.
Red Wings: Host Hurricanes on Tuesday.