Bertuzzi's first hat trick seals long overdue Wings win
Finally, the Red Wings got the reward for playing well that they’ve lacked recently: A win.
And it came because of the things they’ve been doing in recent games without success: stuffing the stat sheet, scoring in early periods and doubling their opponents’ shot total.
Todd Bertuzzi got his first career hat trick and Thomas Vanek scored twice as Detroit beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Wings broke a three-game losing streak and won for only the second time in 11 games (2-7-2).
“I don't think it's a turning point," Vanek said on NHL.com. "We have been playing good hockey. We're just not getting the results.
“As a group, we've been staying positive, saying the right things, but again if we play like this, like we have been, we'll get more wins than losses. We've just got to keep that up."
Bertuzzi’s hat trick came in his 100th NHL game. He tipped a shot by Gustav Nyquist out of mid-air 24 seconds into the game. Then he tipped in Dylan Larkins’s shot 47 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2.
He got his third with 11:22 left when he walked out from the side of the net and beat Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk with a backhander. It was his 13th goal of the season.
"I think after the second (goal), I kind of felt like maybe I had the touch tonight or whatever it is. I'm in the right spots," Bertuzzi said. "It felt good to get that hat trick.”
He said the win was a “big win for us to get on the right track here, and that's what we have to play like every night. Keep it simple and in the zone and have a nice offensive-zone grind, and we did that well tonight and came out with the win."
Larkin had three assists, and Nyquist and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson each had two helpers. Amazingly, they were Ericsson’s first assists of the season, in his 29th game. He has three goals.
The Red Wings outshot the Wild 37-18 – 21-2 in the second period, when Vanek scored both of his goals to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.
After Nino Niederreiter’s power-play goal 17 seconds into the middle period gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead, Vanek re-tied it at 2 just 28 seconds later. And he gave the Wings the lead for good with 4:50 left in the second with his ninth goal of the season.
It was Vanek’s first two-goal game for Detroit, which is the 34-year-old’s eighth NHL team.
"Tonight, we looked like a good team,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought last night” – a 4-2 loss at the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night – “we looked like a good team, we just didn't get the results. We've got to stay with it."
Jimmy Howard only had to make 16 saves.
The Red Wings are back in Detroit on Tuesday to play the Anaheim Ducks at Little Caesars Arena (7:30 p.m.) in their last home game of the month. They then go on a three-game Western Canada swing (Friday at Calgary, next Sunday afternoon in Vancouver and Tuesday in Edmonton) before the All-Star Break on the last weekend of January.