Tyler Bertuzzi's 'big goal' sends Red Wings past Blue Jackets 3-2 in OT
Detroit — Coach Jeff Blashill broke up the Red Wings' first line heading into Tuesday's game, but they played a big part still in the end.
Tyler Bertuzzi banked in a pass from Dylan Larkin just 15 seconds into overtime, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 victory over Columbus.
Anthony Mantha scored a power-play goal, his first goal and the Wings' first power-play goal of the season, as the trio made significant impacts all the way around.
On the winning play, Larkin and Bertuzzi had a partial 2-on-1 rush, the Wings' captain passed the puck, and it bounced off of Bertuzzi and past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins.
"After the faceoff, I noticed two guys sucked in on Bert and away it went," Larkin said. "Just got the puck on net and it went off of Bert and it was true Tyler Bertuzzi fashion. Off his behind, off his foot, and maybe his stick and into the net.
"But big goal for him."
The Wings are 2-2 through the first four games, splitting each of the two-game series they've had thus far.
"Very significant," said Larkin, of splitting the four-game season-opening home stand. "I've liked our process every game. The way we played with the puck, and our confidence, and the goaltending has been great. Just the way we've played, it's repeatable."
Columbus forward Alexander Texier tied the game 2-2 at 5 minutes 4 seconds of the third period, but the Red Wings didn't wilt or panic.
They carried a fair share of the play the rest of regulation, and quickly won it in overtime.
"We played a real good 60 minutes and we really deserved that win," Bertuzzi said. "Everyone is battling and making smart plays and driving the net."
And through four games, the Wings' Bobby Ryan has become the feel-good story of this young season
Ryan scored his fourth goal of the season Tuesday, setting a franchise record in the process.
The Red Wings signed Ryan, an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year, $1 million in October. Ryan, 33, was bought out of the final two years of his seven-year contract in Ottawa, becoming a free agent.
Last season was a struggle for Ryan, who entered the NHL/NHLPA players assistance program to get help for alcohol addiction. Ryan won the Masterton Trophy during the summer for his perseverance and dedication to hockey.
Ryan was looking for a landing spot to show he could still be an impact goal-scorer, and one week into the regular season the signs have been positive.
Tuesday, Ryan became the first player in Wings’ history to score four goals in his first three games with the team.
"I've been really impressed with his skating, he's skating real well," Blashill said. "He's obviously put in the time and I know this with his skating coach, and he's in real good shape. When he's skating well, he can use his skill set. He has real good hands, real good offensive mind, so when you're skating like that, you're going to get opportunities."
Mantha (power play) and Columbus forward Boone Jenner added the other goals.
Blashill split the top line of Larkin centering Mantha and Bertuzzi, spreading the three in three new configurations.
Larkin was between Vladislav Namestnikov and Filip Zadina, while Mantha played with Michael Rasmussen and Ryan. Luke Glendening centered Bertuzzi and Mathias Brome.
The fourth line had Valtteri Filppula between Frans Nielsen and Sam Gagner.
Blashill hinted after the morning skate the Mantha, Larkin and Bertuzzi line may have been forcing things in an attempt to get going offensively.
Whatever the purpose, the decision sparked the victory.
"(There was) no message," Blashill said. "We wanted to spread the lines around a little bit and see what type of chemistry we could have with some different lines. Our guys came out and played hard. Our guys do a good job of not worrying what my decisions are and I make my decisions and they go and play."
Larkin felt blending the lines was a chance to get himself and his usual linemates going.
"The lines were mixed up there and it sparked us," Larkin said. "We (Larkin, Mantha, Bertuzzi) needed to get going and Mo was skating real good tonight and Bert was battling and scored a huge goal for us. Our depth, we're able to do that and that's great for our team."
Blashill said after the morning skate that maybe the Larkin line was attempting to create something offensively when nothing was there.
“If you try to force, you expose yourself and lots of times negative things happen," Blashill said. "They all want to make a huge impact on the team and want to make a huge impact on winning and that comes from a good place. But sometimes you just have to take what is given and be ready to strike when you have the opponent vulnerable.”
Ironically, Larkin and Bertuzzi assisted on Mantha's power-play goal, the Wings' first power-play goal in seven chances this season.
Larkin's directed the puck toward the net, but it glanced off Bertuzzi's skate and directly to Mantha on the flank. Mantha had no problem depositing the puck into a yawning net, with Merzlikins learning too far to the opposite side.