SUNRISE, Fla. – Todd Bertuzzi and the Detroit Red Wings are on a roll.
Bertuzzi scored twice, including the winner with 7:32 remaining, to lift the Detroit Red Wings to their fourth consecutive victory, a 4-3 decision over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
It was Bertuzzi’s third two-goal game during the winning streak.
“I’m still capable of scoring,” said the 15th-year veteran, who has scored at least 25 goals five times in his career. “A lot of it has to do with who I’m playing with.
“We’ve got pretty good chemistry.”
Bertuzzi scored his winner converting a pass from Franzen that bounced in off the far post.
“That was a great play in the neutral zone and I had a good opportunity to get a shot off,” Bertuzzi said. “And I was fortunate it went in.”
Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary also scored for the Red Wings, who matched their longest winning streak of the season. Zetterberg had two assists, giving him eight in his last five games.
Joey MacDonald, making his first start in goal since Feb. 3, stopped 29 shots for Detroit. He made a spectacular glove save on Stephen Weiss’s slapshot with 27.8 seconds left.
Earlier in the period, Weiss had beaten MacDonald with a shot from the high slot.
“You know what,” MacDonald said, “he went the same spot and I was lucky enough to get the glove on it.”
Weiss had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who have lost seven of eight at home. Radek Dvorak and Dennis Wideman had Florida’s other goals. Tomas Vokoun made 26 saves.
Datsyuk also had an assist, giving him five goals and four assists in six games since returning from a broken wrist. The Red Wings have scored 20 goals in their last four games after being held to only four in their previous four.
“Everyone’s a little bit calmer,” Bertuzzi said. “Everyone’s going out there and doing it. Be happy and enjoying playing out there.
“I think we’re really concentrating on playing really solid defence and when we do that we end up scoring a lot, too.”
The game was played in front of a sellout crowd at the BankAtlantic Center, with many of the fans cheering on the Red Wings.
Late in the second period, a fan threw an octopus onto the ice, forcing the referees to stop play. Another octopus was thrown as the final seconds ticked off in the third.
“That was a big one,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock joked about the first incident. “I was glad they throw it when we had a good play going.
“I think the guys we’re covering their faces so they wouldn’t laugh. I just didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”
Detroit led 3-1 in the final minute of the second before Florida came back.
Wideman scored a power-play goal with 16.9 seconds left in the period after Weiss cleanly won the faceoff back to the point. Wideman skated toward the middle of the ice before firing a slapshot that beat MacDonald through traffic.
Weiss then tied it at 9:36 of the third when he fired a slapshot from the high slot.
“They’re a good team, we gave them a couple of chances early and they stuck them in the net,” Florida coach Pete DeBoer said. “You know what you’re dealing with.
“I credit our guys for coming back and battling for 60 minutes. We needed a save or a goal at the end, but we didn’t get one.”
Datsyuk gave Detroit a 3-1 lead at 3:29 of the second when he intercepted a pass in the Florida zone and skated in alone on Vokoun. He faked a deke before lifting a shot over Vokoun’s glove.
Bertuzzi’s first goal came just 1:21 into the game when he tipped in Zetterberg’s backhand pass from the side of the net.
Cleary made it 2-0 at 6:29 before Florida cut the lead when Dvorak’s seemingly harmless wrist shot from a sharp angle at 16:53 of the first trickled through MacDonald’s legs.
“You can’t get down and give them those opportunities,” Florida defenceman Bryan Allen said. “They’re going to hurt you. You’ve got to give guys credit for coming back and giving a good effort, but at the same time it’s frustrating that we’re not getting the results and the wins and more points. Tough one.”
NOTES—Florida D Bryan McCabe returned after missing 13 games because of a broken jaw. … Panthers recalled F Kenndal McArdle from Rochester of the AHL. … Detroit improved to 22-0-2 when leading after two periods. … Detroit D Ruslan Salei returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game to spend time with his family in California.