DETROIT – Everybody was talking about Todd Bertuzzi’s heel.
Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist and the Detroit Red Wings held off the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Thursday night for their season-high seventh straight victory.
Bertuzzi also scored, and Jimmy Howard made 20 saves for Detroit, 14-2-1 in its last 17 games. Andrew Murray and R.J. Umberger scored for Columbus and Steve Mason stopped 29 shots.
Bertuzzi made it 3-1, 1:13 into the third period. Henrik Zetterberg’s pass went in off the right skate of Bertuzzi, who was skating through the crease and replays showed he appeared to make a kicking motion with his heel to direct the puck into the net. It was originally waved off. But it went to video replay and the call was reversed for Bertuzzi’s 18th goal.
Bertuzzi said he didn’t intentionally kick the puck.
“No, not me. I don’t think I’m good enough to do something like that. Every once in a while you get some lucky bounces and that was one of them,” he said. “It ended up being pretty important. … I was just going to the net and got hit. (Zetterberg) made a good play getting it to the net. There was contact. Hit the back of my skate and went in.”
Blue Jackets’ defenceman Mike Commodore didn’t think the call would be reversed.
“To be honest, I was really surprised … I looked at it a couple of times and I thought it was no goal,” he said. “And when they showed it on the scoreboard, if it looks like a good goal that was called back, the crowd usually boos. But there really wasn’t anything … I was surprised.”
And when Umberger scored his 22nd goal, on a tip of Fedor Tyutin’s shot from the point, with 1:13 left in the game on a power play and with Columbus playing 6-on-4 – after pulling Mason – Bertuzzi’s goal became the winner.
“It’s a really sad state of affairs if that’s the winning goal,” Blue Jackets coach Claude Noel said. “You can see for yourself.”
Bertuzzi had another goal called back earlier, 2:29 into the second period, when he batted a puck in with his hand out of the air.
“I had no clue what to do. I didn’t know whether to head it, glove it off a guy, glove it off the goalie,” he said. “I didn’t know what counted and what didn’t. I didn’t think I had time to glove it and throw it down in the paint. Whatever, entertaining myself.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock praised the Blue Jackets.
“They played real patient, they played real hard on you in the neutral zone,” he said. “I thought our guys stuck with it, particularly in the second and third. We got better in handling the puck and handling their neutral zone forecheck. We were able to put pressure on them. As much as we controlled the game, Howie (Howard) made some big saves.”
Datsyuk’s power-play goal gave Detroit a 2-1 lead 8:08 into the second period. He beat Mason with a wrist shot from the slot after stickhandling from the right circle, leaving Commodore sprawled on the ice. It was Datsyuk’s 25th goal.
Holmstrom opened the scoring 2:21 into the game when he jammed one in from alongside the net for his 22nd goal.
Murray tied it with 7:09 left in the period. Be beat Howard from below the left circle after Derek Dorsett broke up Howard’s pass attempt. It was Murray’s fifth goal.
Commodore summed it up from Columbus’ point of view.
“We had some good chances … Howard made some good saves and they booted one in for the winner,” he said.
NOTES: Detroit RW Dan Cleary missed his third game with a sore groin. … Howard was the NHL Rookie of the Month for March. It also was his 24th consecutive start, the most successive starts by a Detroit rookie goalie since Glenn Hall started all 70 games in 1955-56. The stretch also is the most consecutive games started by any Detroit goalie since Tim Cheveldae’s 29 in 1991-92. … Mason was down in the crease for about a minute, with 9:13 left, after getting hit in the face area by Bertuzzi’s stick as Bertuzzi was trying to swat the puck out of the air. … Columbus D Kris Russell left the game with an undisclosed injury after Datsyuk’s goal. Noel said he was day-to-day.