CALGARY – Two years ago when he played in Calgary, Todd Bertuzzi says he practised breakaways against Miikka Kiprusoff all the time.
That experience paid off Friday night.
Brian Rafalski scored his first two goals of the season while Bertuzzi registered the only goal of the shootout as the Detroit Red Wings rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Flames.
“I played here so I know Kip,” said Bertuzzi, who played one season with Calgary. “He knows that I like to go in tight so I knew the poke check was coming. It was just a matter of me being quick with it and try to get it up.”
After Jiri Hudler and Alex Tanguay each were stopped, Bertuzzi beat Kiprusoff with a nifty deke to his backhand.
Jimmy Howard kept it 1-0 stopping Nicklas Hagman and on Calgary’s final chance to tie the shootout, Rene Bourque missed the net.
It was a huge turn of events for Bertuzzi, who spent the final 90 seconds of overtime in the penalty box watching the Flames pour on the pressure in their quest for the winning goal.
Asked if felt like he was in the penalty box for a long time, Bertuzzi, replied: “Not really, I spent half of it yelling at (the ref) so it went by pretty quick.
“I wanted to score just because that ref who called that penalty on me. That motivated me more than anything.”
Howard’s best stop in the 4-on-3 came when he scrambled across the crease to get his blocker on Jarome Iginla’s shot.
Howard finished with 35 saves. His best work came in overtime when he turned aside six Flames shots including a dangerous one-timer from Jarome Iginla.
“We kept ourselves in it, gave ourselves a chance and we were able to get that fourth one, and battled through overtime and Howie made some big saves on that last power play,” said Rafalski, who tied it 4-4 on a harmless-looking long wrist shot at 8:16 of the third. “We found a way to get two points on the road and that’s what you have to do.”
Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves also scored for Detroit (26-10-5). The Red Wings immediately head to Vancouver where on Saturday they’ll battle the Canucks in a showdown of the Western Conference’s top two teams.
“They’re playing well right now so it’s going to be a big game, obviously, if you look at the standings,” Rafalski said.
Curtis Glencross had two goals and an assist for Calgary (18-20-4). Iginla and Anton Babchuk had the others. Babchuk added two assists for his first multi-point game since being acquired in November from the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Flames are off until Tuesday when they begin a three-game Eastern road trip in Carolina.
“Obviously, we thought we deserved better,”said Glencross.“We can’t dwell on it. We all had a pretty good hockey game in here tonight.”
The one possible exception might be Kiprusoff, who surrendered three soft goals on a rare shaky night between pipes.
“I’m not pointing fingers, I’m not going to do that, but there are saves that have to be made and they go through you,”said Flames coach Brent Sutter.“We deserved two points here tonight and we never got them.”
Detroit was outshot 39-27.
Glencross entered the game stuck in a massive slump with just one assist in his previous 17 contests. During that stretch he’d been a healthy scratch for two games.
He snapped out of the slump in a big way with two goals and an assist before the game was 22 minutes old.
“It’s nice to get that monkey off the back. It’s been a battle. It’s nice to finally get going again,”said Glencross.Notes: Detroit C Valtteri Filppula (groin) did not play… Calgary RW Ales Kotalik took a turn as a healthy scratch. Kotalik has one goal and no assists in 14 games… Rafalski played in his 800th NHL game while Kostopoulos played in NHL game No. 500… The five-game road trip Detroit is on is the first of two road trips of that length for the Red Wings. The other is Feb. 26 — Mar. 5… Calgary RW Tim Jackman’s five-game point streak (three goals, three assists) came to an end… Detroit has surrendered three or more goals in 10 of its last 11 games.