Tyler Bertuzzi talks about notching three points in four consecutive games. The Detroit News
Detroit — Shock, disbelief, awe and wonder.
The amazement wasn’t that the Red Wings won again Tuesday, this time 4-1 over Pittsburgh. At this point of the season, with just four days left, you’ve come to expect that. The Wings have now won six consecutive games and eight of nine — ho hum.
But Tyler Bertuzzi’s scoring exploits have become legendary. Historic, even.
Bertuzzi had two goals and an assist Tuesday, giving him four consecutive games with three points.
No player in Red Wings' history, dating to 1926 with a galaxy of stars such as Howe, Delvecchio, Lindsay, Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Datsyuk, among so many others….nobody had ever done that before.
Until Tyler Bertuzzi did it.
“It blew me away,” said coach Jeff Blashill, after learning of the accomplishment. “I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. When you think of the players in this franchise, the winning that has been going on, the number of goals. Different eras certainly had higher scoring games, but to be the first in history.
“I absolutely couldn’t believe it. What a good little run here by that line, and a good run by him.”
Said goaltender Jimmy Howard, when hearing of Bertuzzi’s scoring mark: “I was shocked. I didn’t know that but great for Bert. He’s a hard worker. I was shocked by that to be honest with you.”
Bertuzzi, as he usually is, was low key about the historic scoring mark, and passed the credit on to linemates Anthony Mantha (who also had two goals Tuesday) and Dylan Larkin (three assists).
“I’m a little shocked right now, I don’t comprehend it yet, but it’s something special,” Bertuzzi said. “I can’t thank by teammates enough or my linemates for this run.”
Many fans will roll their eyes with what the Red Wings are currently doing, this being the final week of the regular season and there’s no pressure on a team with nothing to play for.
But they keep winning, never mind they don’t have 10 regulars in the lineup and essentially playing with the Grand Rapids’ defense plus Niklas Kronwall (who was outstanding Tuesday).
They just keep winning.
“This one is crazy,” said Howard, who also was great with 38 saves, of the win streak, “especially with how depleted we are. But the young guys are stepping up in a big way, we’re playing hard and smart, and we’re getting rewarded.”
Yes, the victories will continue to infuriate fans who want them to “tank,” but nobody in the Wings’ locker room cares about that.
“It’s important to win games, especially with the young lineup,” Howard said. “When we go out there and the puck is dropped, competitiveness takes over and you want to win the game.
“That’s what is happening right now for us.”
Coach Jeff Blashill talks about Tyler Bertuzzi's historic scoring accomplishment. The Detroit News
All on the day Blashill was extended for two more seasons, given the progress and development of the young Red Wings' roster.
"It's affirming," Blashill said. "The biggest thing for me personally is I want to keep moving this team in a direction where we all want it to be, us, coaching staff, fanbase, the players, the management.
"As I said earlier, we're starting to head in that direction."
Playing against a Penguins team that was missing star forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang, the Wings played a smart, sound game, as they’ve done for the majority of this streak.
“What you’re building is true confidence,” Blashill said. “You get true confidence when you have the type of success you’re earned and we’re earning that right now.”