Bertuzzi ended a 15-game goal-scoring drought in the second period, then banked in the go-ahead goal with 2:50 left in regulation as the Red Wings put an end to their two-game losing streak by beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 at Rexall Place on Tuesday night.
"We need a contribution from everybody right now. We're short-staffed," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We needed to respond, and we did."
The Wings led 3-1 after dominating the first two periods and appeared to be on their way to a routine win before the Oilers rallied early in the third. Theo Peckham made it 3-2 at 4:54 with his second of the season, both against the Wings. Sam Gagner tied it 11:31, picking up a loose puck after a faceoff and whipping it past Chris Osgood from the slot.
But Bertuzzi, who ended a 15-game goal-scoring drought by connecting in the second period, put the Wings back in front when his pass from the corner to the right of Nikolai Khabibulin hit the skate of Edmonton defenseman Ladislav Smid and deflected into the net.
"Obviously, it was a little bit frustrating," Bertuzzi said of his slump. "It was a matter of a little puck luck and getting it on net. It was nice to see them go in."
Darren Helm's snap shot past Khabibulin 44 seconds later assured the Oilers of their seventh loss in a row. Edmonton fell to 6-11-3 at home and left coach Tom Renney puzzled after yet another poor start cost his team.
"Maybe they have to be scared, afraid, fearful. I'm not sure," coach Tom Renney said of his team's inclination to fall behind and then rally. "I'm not sure they understand how competitive they can be.
"We have a responsibility here to come out and play hard to start games. We got ourselves back into that first period. That's fine. The second period, I think they out-chanced us by nine or 10 chances. That's not good enough, obviously. We're a work in progress."
Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom, each riding seven-game point streaks, made it eight by combining for Detroit's first goal. Zetterberg took a Lidstrom pass and fooled Khabibulin with a snap shot from center point 3:43 into the game with Tomas Holmstrom crowding the crease.
Linus Omark and Liam Reddox, recalled from Oklahoma City of the AHL on Monday, made an immediate impact, setting up Gilbert Brule's tying goal at 11:38. Brule, who had gone 10 games without a goal, backhanded a cross-crease pass from Reddox past Osgood to tie it.
Bertuzzi ended his drought 6:40 into the second period when he took a pass from Jiri Hudler on the end boards, stepped in front and tucked a backhand past Khabibulin for a 2-1 lead. It was his first goal since Dec. 4.
The Oilers barely got off their heels the rest of the period after Bertuzzi's goal. When Kris Draper finished a give-and-go with Helm by chipping a backhand over Khabibulin to make it 3-1, Detroit had a 12-3 margin in shots for the period. It ended 17-9, a total that included Khabibulin stopping Jan Mursak on a breakaway and two remarkable pad saves on Zetterberg on a power play to keep the margin at two goals.
Despite Detroit's dominance in the first 40 minutes, the Oilers were right back in business when Peckham charged in from the point and banged a pass from Gagner behind Osgood to cut it to 3-2.
Osgood was upset with himself for allowing Gagner's shot to slip through his legs.
"I've got to stop that third goal," said Osgood, who earned career win No. 401. "That was a mistake I'd make when I was 22, not 38. I thought that was the best defensively we'd played in awhile.
The Oilers kept coming and when Gagner tied it, Edmonton had all the momentum until Bertuzzi's bank shot found the net.
"I was just trying to get it on net and hope that it would bounce off something," he said. "I guess it bounced off the defenseman's leg and went in. Those are good things that happen. Hopefully, it continues."