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Trending: Top line hot for Wings; Glendening gets game-winner

Bertuzzi ties Green's record for points in season opener

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

NASHVILLE -- There's something to be said for a team's best players leading the way, particularly on the road.

But you also need some secondary scoring and great goaltending.

When Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi were put together as a line last season, they caught fire toward the end of the year.

So much so that Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill put them back together to start training camp.

The chemistry continued in the first game of the season.

Bertuzzi (two, one empty net), Mantha and Larkin each scored for the Wings.

But it was new alternate captain Luke Glendening who broke a 3-3 tie at 9:24 of the third to help lift the Wings to a 5-3 victory.

The Red Wings have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Predators, including a six-game winning streak in Nashville dating back to 2014-15.

Viktor Arvidsson (power play), Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm scored for the Predators.

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made 39 saves, many of them spectacular ones, especially as the Wings settled into their first game of the season.

Nashville netminder Juuse Saros had 23 saves.

Up next for the Wings is their home opener Sunday night against the Dallas Stars. The Predators host the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.

1. Tyler Bertuzzi/Luke Glendening: On a perfect tic-tac-toe play, Mantha dropped the puck to Larkin, who fed Bertuzzi in the right circle for a one-timer that beat Saros at 11:40 of the first period. Bertuzzi, who provides a lot of grit for the top line, then assisted on Mantha's goal just 1:11 after his own goal. He also got the second assist on Larkin's goal. With the Red Wings fighting to maintain their lead, Bertuzzi made a heads-up play to get the empty-net goal on a wraparound at 18:58 of the third. According to NHL Public Relations, Bertuzzi's four points tied the Wings' record for most points in a season opener. Mike Green had four assists on Oct. 5, 2017 against the Minnesota Wild. Bertuzzi finished with 26 shifts for 19:48, had two shots, one giveaway and was plus-4. Glendening, elevated to the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Taro Hirose with Andreas Athanasiou unable to go, is generally not considered a goal scorer. But he certainly looked like one at 9:24 of the third, lifting the puck over Saros into the top of the net. Filppula got the lone assist. Glendening also assisted on Bertuzzi's empty-netter. Glendening has three goals and three assists in 11 games against Nashville. Glendening finished with 25 shifts for 14:21, had two shots, two hits, one blocked shot, was 8-for-16 in face-offs and was plus-1.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Luke out here pickin' corners. 🔥

Quotable: "Glenny is just a winner. At different times during my time with him, I've tried to not play him as much and he just always forces me to play him more, whether it was here, in GR, in World Championships, he's just a winner of a player. He does all those things that at the end of the day account to winning. The other thing Glenny has done is he's worked extremely hard at becoming a better goal-scorer. He's worked hard on his shot over the course of the last number of summers and the goal he scored on the two-on-one is indicative of the work he's put in." -- Blashill

Quotable II: "(Bertuzzi's) amazing. He brings the chemistry together. He likes to joke around, so it keeps us nice and smooth. There's plenty of times we're just having fun right now." -- Mantha

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: BANG. BANG.

Quotable III: "But look at Luke Glendening's game tonight, it gives me chills thinking about it. He blocks everything, he wins face-offs, scored the game-winning goal. He does everything and we got guys like that all around this room." -- Larkin

2. Anthony Mantha: Mantha was on fire throughout the preseason, scoring four goals in his four games. That trend continued at 11:40 of the first. Bertuzzi got the puck to Mantha, who drove to the net with Predators on him and still managed to push the puck into the net for a 2-0 lead. Mantha also assisted on the first goal, scored by Bertuzzi, and on the third goal, scored by Larkin. Mantha finished with 27 shifts for 21:26, had a game-high five shots, one giveaway, one takeaway, one blocked shot, was 0-for-1 in face-offs and was plus-three.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Gotta love the hard work here.@antomantha8 | #LGRW

Quotable: "I think (my confidence is) as close or same as my last year in juniors. Since then, it's never been as close. For us as a line, it's huge. We just right away come back to where we left last year. It's exactly what we wanted and we had a great camp. This game just proves we're meant to be a first line together and hopefully we can stick around for the whole season." -- Mantha

Quotable II: "Yeah, the Flying Frenchman. He was moving his feet, it was a great goal, one of the best I've seen him score. When he moves his feet like that, he's hard to stop." -- Larkin

3. Dylan Larkin: Larkin did not worry too much about not scoring a goal in the exhibition season. He played just three games because of a minor tweak that sidelined him for a bit. He was also questionable earlier in the week after leaving practice early after a near-collision with Darren Helm that forced him into the boards. But Larkin was able to practice the rest of the week and pronounced himself ready to go. Larkin had a glorious chance late in the first period but hit the left post instead. Undaunted, Larkin was ready for a shot from the high slot at 4:02 of the third, assisted by Mantha.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: .@Dylanlarkin39 doing @Dylanlarkin39 things.

Quotable: "I missed Mo on the breakaway pass, I couldn't get it settled, kind of lost my grip on my stick. But he did a great job finding me and I knew as soon as it came off, Bert was right in front of the net, so it gave me an easy goal." -- Larkin

Quotable II: "They're a really good line, they know how to play together. They kind of feed off each other. Dylan kind of drives the line with his energy. Bert is greasy, skilled, smart and Mo's got that great skilled package. They've been a really good line together, they enjoy playing together and we're going to need them to be great." -- Blashill

Quotable III: "Coming in from our blue line and (Larkin) was skating all the way. Obviously, it gave him a little extra strength on that shot and we'll take those shots every day." -- Mantha

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