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Key Play Breakdown: More like Tyler BerTHREEzzi

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Wings are back in the win column and I get to pick a goal to have fun breaking down. Nice way to end a Saturday! Here’s Tyler Bertuzzi’s hat trick goal against Minnesota in the third period

The Setup

The Wings dump the puck into the Minnesota end to complete a change and Tyler Bertuzzi is joined by Larkin on the forecheck. The Wings create effective pressure which leads to a dump-out clear and a turnover that Ericsson turns to Bertuzzi for a dump back into the zone for Nyquist rushing on with pressure.

Goose chases Jordan Greenway into the corner and threatens to angle him into the boards behind Devan Dubnyk’s net; Greenway responds by reversing the play and passing back into the corner he was just flushed out of. This kind of crosses up Jonas Brodin and Nick Seeler, allowing Tyler Bertuzzi to hustle in and pick it up before coming to the corner and resetting it to Filip Hronek at the point.

Hronek controls the puck and waits for traffic before firing a low half-slapper towards the net. It’s a good wait because it allows Larkin to set the screen in front while Nyquist sets up at the side of the net for rebound-picking and Bertuzzi cuts across the high slot area where he can either jump deep or start an immediate backcheck if appropriate:

The Finish

Fortunately, the need here is for Bertuzzi to jump into the zone instead of out of it, as Hronek’s shot is saved by Dubnyk and the rebound is left on the back door. As Charlie Coyle tries to skate into the puck, Bertuzzi reaches around him and punches it below the goal line while the two of them tumble to the corner.

From here, Nyquist is able to win the battle for position against Seeler, as he cuts across the net front and wins the race to the puck. Seeler lets him go in order to get back to the back post and prevent a Nyquist wrap-around, but nobody is covering Bertuzzi as he’s gotten himself un-Coyled in the corner and has space to receive Nyquist’s pass.

While the rest of the Wild players all watch the pass from Nyquist to Bertuzzi, Lil’ Bert is finishing his hatty by pulling the puck to his backhand out from behind the goal line and scooping it past Dubnyk

Credit Where Credit is Due

Every Red Wings skater on this play has a positive impact and I love to see that. Ericsson was the recipient of the original Wild turnover and moved it quickly up-ice and then maintained his position while the play happened around him (read: he wasn’t very involved, but he also didn’t screw it up so yay!)

Dylan Larkin doesn’t get anything but a plus on the scoresheet, but his role in the original forecheck that led to the turnover and then his havoc-creation in front of the net as Hronek shot it are key parts to this play.

Gustav Nyquist won not one but TWO physical battles on this shift to make the play develop as it did and made a really nifty pass to Bertuzzi after recovering the puck behind the net. Great feed from Goose on his 2nd assist of the night. His forecheck on Greenway was the catalyst for the finish.

Hronek’s shot selection after receiving the pass was perfect. He waited just long enough to let his linemates get in position but not so long that he got his own shot blocked by the winger sent to cover him. He shot with a purpose of creating trouble in front rather than trying for a huge wind-up and an attempt to put a new hole in the goalie.

In all this, Tyler Bertuzzi is absolutely the star of his own highlight here though. He’s also a key part of the forecheck that turned the puck over to the Wings, followed by how well he placed the dump-in attempt to give Nyquist a chance at pressuring the defender tasked with puck retrieval; then, he hustled in to get the loose puck, cycled it himself, recovered the shot rebound and finally received the pass with the foresight to immediately go aggressively to the net-front where he was rewarded. Fantastic performance by Bertuzzi all night capped off by this goal.