Todd Bertuzzi provided another two goal night, his third of the year, for what has become an increasingly surprising boost in production from #44.
The Blue Jackets got on the board first at 12:10 of the first on a goal from Antoine Vermette. Derek Meech's lazy pass in behind the line ended up on the stick of Jakub Voracek. Voracek's shot was stopped by Howard but mopped up by Vermette to give the Jackets a lead heading into the first break.
Early in the second, Brad May was screening Mathieu Garon and a shot from the point rang off both goalposts before going back into play. Bertuzzi would add his first goal of the night and 11th of the year minutes later on the power play. Pavel Datsyuk's great lead pass to Bertuzzi put him in all alone with Garon and Bert went forehand to backhand across the goalmouth to tie the game at one. Garon must have been thinking one timer as he laid out for a save to the near post and Bertuzzi kept it on the ice and skated around for an easy goal.
Bertuzzi got his second of the night early in the third period on a shot from Brian Rafalski that hit off the ever lively end boards at The Joe, right onto Bertuzzi's tape on the far side of the net. 2-1 Wings early in the 3rd. The play of the night may have been Darren Helm's save on a bouncing puck that hopped over Howard. Helm swatted at the puck with his stick and got enough to stop it and then batted it out of danger with his hand. Howard stopped 28 of 29 for his 12th win of the year and 2 much needed points for the Wings.
Detroit also had the much awaited return of Valtteri Filppula. In his return, Fil had three shots, two hits, a -1 rating, and won 5 of 8 faceoffs in 17:42.
Detroit faces Columbus again on Monday, this time at Columbus.
Player of the game: Todd Bertuzzi, no doubt. Bertuzzi's starting to find his role in this offense and is positioning himself better. He had 2 goals on 4 shots in 17 minutes on the ice.
#44 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Feb 02, 1975