The Sharks had their 4-1 cushion heading into the third, at the start of which Howard was replaced by Petr Mrazek.
Pavelski tallied 4:59 into the game and he scored the second of San Jose's three goals in the middle period -- giving him 21 for the season.
Andrew Desjardins and Dan Boyle also scored in the second period for the Sharks.
Detroit opened a four-game, cross-country road trip that began in northern California and will end in New York.
Antti Niemi made 24 saves, allowing only a first-period goal to Tomas Tatar. Howard gave up four goals on 23 shots.