The Wings were less than 20 minutes away from being shut out at home in back-to-back games before Tomas Holmstrom got them started with a power-play goal early in the third period. Todd Bertuzzi then tied the game midway through the third period and scored on a power play 1:07 into overtime to give Detroit a 3-2 win over Anaheim on Friday night.
With Dan Cleary going down with a shoulder separation on Wednesday, the Wings are now without five regulars with long-term injuries. They need players like Bertuzzi to step up.
"We need Bert to be important on this team," coach Mike Babcock said. "This was a big game by Bert."
Bertuzzi's game-winner was one of those "how did he do that?" shots. The big winger was about a foot above the goal line as goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere hugged the left post during the Wings' 4-on-3 power play. There was a tiny hole above Giguere's shoulder, and Bertuzzi put the puck there for the win.
"I think it's just being in the league for a while and knowing goaltenders and playing with Jiggy," said Bertuzzi, a former Duck, "and knowing he likes to hug the post. There's not a lot of room up there but just enough to squeak it in."
With the Wings on the outside looking in at the top eight in the West, it's an understatement to say Detroit needed the win.
"We needed two points. All you've got to do is look at the standings," Babcock said after his banged-up team improved to 15-11-5, ninth in the conference. "We're trying to do everything we can to hang in there."
Saku Koivu and Dan Sexton each had a goal and an assist in the second period for Anaheim, which has lost nine straight on the road. The Ducks hurt themselves by taking 11 penalties, including an offensive-zone hooking penalty by Ryan Getzlaf in the final seconds of regulation that led to the game-winner.
"We took way too many penalties the entire game," Sexton said. "Five-on-five we had them pretty good."
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle was very displeased with his team's lack of discipline after goals by Koivu and Sexton put the Ducks up by two entering the final 20 minutes.
"We had a 2-0 lead going into the third period and in the first two minutes we take an offensive zone penalty 200 feet from our net," Carlyle said. "And then take an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (by Nick Boynton at 4:46). ... How can you have a 2-0 lead with those kind of penalties? Just self-destructed."
Holmstrom's power-play goal 2:17 into the third put Detroit on the board. He put in a one-timer from the slot past Giguere for his 12th goal -- and broke the Red Wings' 102:24 overall scoreless drought and 142:18 dry spell at Joe Louis Arena. Bertuzzi tied it at 2 at 9:36 of the third, banking a shot in off Giguere's skate from the right corner.
The Ducks had gone ahead when Koivu tipped Sexton's pass behind Jimmy Howard at 8:05 of the second period for his fifth of the season. Sexton scored at 19:05 when his innocent-looking writer from the right corner deflected into the net off Howard's stick for his third goal in two games.
That was the lone bad spot for Howard, who kept the Wings in the game with 25 saves. Giguere made 28.
It was the kind of win the Wings desperately needed as they head to Nashville for a game against the Predators on Saturday.
"We've got to fine a way to keep grinding it out to get the points," Babcock said.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report