Tyler Bertuzzi’s game-winner sends Red Wings past Blue Jackets 3-2 in OT

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
 
| The Detroit News

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.

Larkin and Bertuzzi had a partial 2-on-1 rush, Larkin passed the puck, and it bounced off of Bertuzzi and past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Blue Jackets 2, OT

The Wings are 2-2 through the first four games, splitting each of two two-game series they’ve had thus far.

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, had been 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 on Nov. 20 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.

With the game 1-1 in the second period, Ryan swatted at a fluttering puck — Columbus defenseman Seth Jones appeared to chop at it simultaneously — and it flew past Merzlikins.

That gave the Wings a 2-1 lead they carried into the third period, only to see Columbus tie it.

Blue Jackets forward Liam Foudy scored his first goal, at 5:04, deflecting a point shot from Alexandre Texier.

Anthony 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.

“Speaking as a line they are three individuals and they all have the strengths and weaknesses,” Blashill said. “They’ve had moments of being effective and different moments they need to improve. Ultimately each one of them wants to be a go-to guy, and sometimes with that you put too much pressure on yourself, and the thing about the NHL is you’re not going to make something happen every shift. Sometimes you’ll just have to be OK with nothing happening and basically get through the shift, it’s even, and you move on and wait for your opportunities to attack and strike when you have the opponent in a vulnerable position.

“If you try to force, you expose yourself and lots of times negative things happen. 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.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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