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Creative Bert lifts Wings to win

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Todd Bertuzzi is congratulated by teammates after his shoot-out goal, which proved to be the shoot-out winner Friday at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT – On a night when a pair of hockey legends struck longevity milestones, Todd Bertuzzi managed to finish the night off right with a shoot-out goal to lift the Red Wings to their 19th straight home victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Bertuzzi’s goal in the shoot-out gave the Wings a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks Friday night, leaving Detroit one victory shy of tying the NHL’s all-time record for consecutive home wins.

With the shoot-out tied at one apiece, the Wings’ big power forward slowly meandered down the middle of the ice, before swiftly lifting a back-hand shot that beat Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, and deflected into the net off the crossbar.

Bertuzzi just might be the league’s most creative big man when it comes to taking shoot-outs, changing up his approach with each attempt. And Friday was no different as he chose to skate up the middle instead of swing out wide, which has become his trademark.

“I think it’s worked being more creative, switching it up each and every time,” said Bertuzzi, who is now 4-for-6 in shoot-outs this season. “If you stick to one or two (different moves) over time with the amount of media and TV, and all of that, these goaltenders watch this stuff and they know what’s going on, players’ instincts and all of that. So I try to change it up as much as I can.”

Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald, filling in for injured Jimmy Howard (finger), was spectacular once again in leading the Wings to another home win – his second straight since being called up from Grand Rapids a week ago Friday.

“He’s played awesome,” Bertuzzi said. “He had three tough shooters come down on him, and not only that but in regulation he made some outstanding saves. They had six power plays, or seven, you have to give a lot of credit to him.”

MacDonald made 29 saves in regulation and overtime, and stopped Ducks forwards Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan in the shoot-out. Teemu Selanne scored Anaheim’s lone goal in the shoot-out.

MacDonald sealed the win when Ryan’s shot glanced off of the goalie’s upper left chest.

“He came in there kind of slow, like Bert,” MacDonald said. “I just tried to stay with him and not back too far in (the) net. When guys are coming down like Bert, coming down slow, it drives you back in your net and you’ve just got to stay out and stay patient with
Alex Delvecchio congratulated Nicklas Lidstrom for tying him for second-place on the Wings' all-time games-played list at 1,549 games. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

During the game, both Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom were recognized by the 53rd straight home sellout crowd for reaching significant milestones on Friday.

Lidstrom, the seven-time Norris Trophy winner in his 20th NHL season, tied Wings’ legend and hockey hall of famer Alex Delvecchio for second-place on the club’s all-time games-played list with 1,549.

After the game, the 79-year-old Delvecchio congratulated Lidstrom for his achievement.

“It means a lot, especially him coming down after I'm tying his games played record and coming down and taking a picture with me and chatting a little bit,” Lidstrom said. “I'm proud to reach that milestone. I was very happy to see him come down and congratulate me, too.”

Meanwhile, Holmstrom, who is in his 15th season, became the sixth Wings’ player all-time to appear in 1,000 NHL games.

The five-minute overtime period was wild with one good scoring chance for each team.

Datsyuk had the Wings’ best opportunity in OT. The Wings’ center stole the puck from defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky at Detroit’s blue line, cruised into the offensive zone, made a swift move to get around Ryan Getzlaf, and fired a wrist shot, but Hiller made a solid save on.

Moments later, Farmington, Mich., native Cam Fowler skated in alone on MacDonald before lifting a backhander off the right post.

“He came down with a lot of speed,” MacDonald said of Fowler. “I just had to stay with him and I didn’t think he had very much room to get it in. He just kind put it off to the side of the net. But it was a strange game. We hit four or five goalposts ourselves, crossbars and stuff. You knew it was just going to come down to one play.”

Detroit will have a chance to tie the NHL record of 20 straight home wins Sunday night against the Philadelphia Flyers – the last team to accomplish the feat.

The 1929-30 Boston Bruins won 20 straight before the Flyers equaled the achievement in 1975-76.

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