Bertuzzi's shootout goal gave the Red Wings a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night in a key Central Division battle with all kinds of playoff implications. Bertuzzi beat Brian Elliott with a backhander in the final round to give the Red Wings a huge extra point in the standings.
"We haven't had a shootout against (Elliott) and I was just trying to get an idea what he's like," said Bertuzzi, who now has 10 career game-deciding goals in shootouts. "Watching [Pavel Datsyuk] and [Jiri Hudler] shoot, I was trying to get a move in laterally and trying to get up as high as I can. He's a quick goaltender who gets back in the paint quick."
Bertuzzi is 5-for-9 in the tiebreaker this season, including four deciding goals. Of his 16 career goals in the shootout, 10 have decided the outcome.
Johan Franzen scored twice in the final 6:05 of regulation and Datsyuk and Bertuzzi each had two assists for the Wings (48-27-5), who are fighting for the fourth spot in the Western Conference. They jumped over Nashville into fourth with 101 points -- the NHL-record 12th straight season Detroit has earned 100 or more points.
"I just think we try to do things right," Bertuzzi said of Detroit's 100-point streak. "We try to play the game the right way. Obviously [owners Mike and Marian Ilitch] and [general manager] Kenny Holland are doing a tremendous job bringing people who they drafted and all that. It's been a staple of our organization to be competitive every year."
David Perron and Andy McDonald scored earlier in the third period for the Blues, who fell to 48-21-11 but stayed within two points of both Vancouver and the New York Rangers for the Western Conference race and Presidents' Trophy race. It's the Blues' 10th shootout loss of the season, seven of them coming by 1-0 results in the tiebreaker.
"We did a lot of real good things," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team is winless in three straight and 3-3-4 in its last 10. "You've got to be happy with it.
"I'm disappointed more in myself. I don't make that mistake that late in the game very often, but I made the mistake. So I'm more disappointed in myself than I am in anything. ... We played exactly the way we have to play to win hockey games. But we made a couple defensive errors, we didn't protect the puck at the right time, but overall, there's a lot of good things to build on."
Hitchcock was referring to Franzen's tying goal, in which the Blues were caught on a line change and the veteran coach said he had the wrong personnel on the ice.
"For the most part, it was my fault," Hitchcock said. "The second goal, I had the wrong people on the ice. We got caught on a line change and it ended up in our net ... my fault."
Detroit's Jimmy Howard stopped 27 shots, one more than Elliott -- who saw his shutout streak end at 241:33 when Franzen scored at 13:55 of the third period.
The game was still scoreless when St. Louis' Ryan Reaves was given a boarding major and a game misconduct at 6:01 of the third period, But not only did the Blues shut down Detroit's power play, Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead when he picked off Jakub Kindl's pass near his own blue like, went in alone on Howard and roofed a backhander at 7:18 for a 1-0 lead.
The Blues were particularly upset with both referees, Ian Walsh and Brad Watson. Hitchcock felt the call on Reaves was not a good one and the Blues were puzzled that Franzen didn't get some sort of penalty for hitting David Backes at the end of the second period.
"I didn't like the call," Hitchcock said, referring to the Reaves major. "I've got to see it closer, but what I saw on the replay and what I was told, I didn't like the call."
But the Blues were able to press on, and McDonald picked off a Kindl pass and beat Howard with a wrister at 10:19 of the third to give the Blues a 2-0 lead -- an advantage they don't normally give up.
"We got away from checking and limiting their chances in the offensive zone," Blues forward T.J. Oshie said of Detroit. "Obviously they're going to get them, they're a great team. They have some high-end skill on their team, but we can't be giving up goals like we did.
"I think we did feed off of Perry's goal there, but we've got to stay on it. There's going to be games like this. It was as close to a playoff atmosphere as we've had. We've got to learn how to play a full game without any hiccups there."
But Franzen broke Elliott's shutout streak with 6:05 to play on a redirection of a Datsyuk pass, then tied the game 2-2 when he took Datsyuk's cross-ice feed and wristed a shot into the top shelf with 3:50 to play.
"Two quick passes from [Datsyuk] and [Bertuzzi] did a good job before that, too, holding on to the puck, going strong down low, occupying people and two nice passes from [Datsyuk] and good, hard [plays] by [Bertuzzi]," Franzen said.
The Red Wings, after dropping the first two games against the Blues this season, took the last four.
"We had to overcome our power play," Wings coach Mike Babcock said of his man-advantage unit, which was 0-for-4. "It looked like it was over."
1 - 0 STL
2 - 0 STL
2 - 1 STL