Bertuzzi scores twice, including winner in OT; Red Wings continue hot streak

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period.

We'll know more next season whether this end of season hot streak meant anything.

But if you're a Red Wings fan, enjoy this, because there hasn't been much to feel good about.

Tyler Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the game, at 2:18 of overtime, giving the Wings a 5-4 victory Thursday.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 5, Sabres 4, OT

Dylan Larkin scored two goals in the third period, snapping a tie and reaching the 30-goal mark, giving the Wings a 4-2 lead. But Buffalo scored two goals 41 seconds apart late in the period, tying the game.

It was the third consecutive victory for the Red Wings' (29-38-10) and their fifth win in the last six games.

Bertuzzi one-timed a pass from Danny DeKeyser, who received a pass from Taro Hirose — who assisted in his fifth consecutive game to begin his NHL career — near the circle then found Bertuzzi alone near the dot. It was Bertuzzi's 18th goal.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 35 shots, as the Wings kept rolling despite a growing amount of injuries and a number of young prospects in the lineup.

Filip Hronek also scored for the Wings, while Anthony Mantha earned assists on three goals.

The only negative for some Wings' fans, in regard to this win streak, is the diminishing odds the Wings will finish with the NHL's worst record, thereby getting the best odds to select No. 1 overall (likely Jack Hughes, of the U.S National Development Team).

Here are other highlights from Thursday's victory:

► Mantha rolling : Mantha assisted on three goals, giving him five points (three assists) in the last three games. Fans will always talk about Mantha’s goal-scoring, but his passing abilty is somewhat overlooked. Always a streaky player, Mantha has been one of the Wings’ most dangerous players these past few games.

Race for 30: Larkin scored his 30th goal, becoming the first Wing to reach the plateau since four Wings reached the mark in 2008-09. Andreas Athanasiou has 29 currently. Larkin's two goals Thursday broke a 2-2 tie and were part of a great night for Larkin, who had a game-high 10 shots. 

Hirose rolling: Hirose was on the ice in overtime, beginning the scoring play by finding DeKeyser. It was Hirose's fifth assist in five games, one assist in each of his first five NHL games.

Buffalo goals: Kyle Okposo cut the Wings’ lead to 2-1 at 15:37 of the second period, his 12th goal. It was Okposo’s 12th goal and it capped a nice passing play on the power play. Still in the second period the Sabres tied it 2-2 on Marco Scandella’s goal at 17:16. Buffalo had been carrying the play for a while, and off a scramble in front, Scandella was wide open firing into an open net, Scandella’s sixth goal. Casey Mittelstadt scored his 12th at 15:01 of the third period, beating Howard from the hashmarks with Howard unaware where the puck was. Eichel tied it at 4 41 seconds later with his 27th goal on a breakaway.

Injuries, injuries:  Jonathan Ericsson returned Monday after missing five games. But after Thursday’s first period, the Wings announced Ericsson was done for the night because of a lower body injury. Ericsson appeared to twist ankle behind the net while colliding with Buffalo’s Johan Larsson. Ericsson joins Thomas Vanek (middle body), Michael Rasmussen (upper body), Jacob de la Rose (accelerated heartbeat), Mike Green (virus), Juston Abdelkader (lower body) and Trevor Daley (back) as Wings who are injured.

Battle for the worst: With the victory, the Wings (68 points) moved outside the bottom three in the NHL. They'll host the Devils (67), who the Wings moved past by defeating the Sabres, Friday. The Wings are also only three points behind the New York Rangers, who both have 71 points, and four behind Buffalo (72).

Next: The Wings return home, hosting New Jersey Friday (7 p.m./FSD+,97.1 FM).

Twitter: @tkulfan