DETROIT – If not for Todd Bertuzzi, the Detroit Red Wings might not score any goals.
Bertuzzi scored twice, Jimmy Howard made 28 saves and Detroit rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Saturday night.
Detroit, coming off consecutive shutout losses to Chicago, ended a three-game losing streak.
“It was good to see us respond and play the way we can,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Antoine Vermette scored for Columbus and Mathieu Garon stopped 25 shots. The Blue Jackets have lost nine straight, which ties a franchise record for winless games. They have an 11-game winless streak on the road and have lost 17 of the last 19 since Nov. 19.
“Obviously, it’s a struggle for us right now,” Columbus veteran Fredrik Modin said. “We’re trying for anything positive to build on here.”
Bertuzzi made it 2-1 2:44 into the third period when he collected Brian Rafalski’s shot off the end boards and put the puck into the empty side of the net.
“That was quite a quality bounce there. A pretty lucky play,” Bertuzzi said. “I was fortunate to be there, but I will take it. I am happy we got this win, now we’ve got to get ready to go to the Horseshoe (the Red Wings visit Columbus on Monday night) and win again.”
It was Bertuzzi’s 12th goal and gave Detroit the lead for the first time in 201 minutes four seconds.
“I don’t think Todd is going to get an easier goal,” Columbus defenceman Mike Commodore said.
Bertuzzi tied it at 1 with a power-play goal at 6:38 of the second period, ending the Red Wings’ 167:38 scoreless streak. Bertuzzi also scored the previous goal Dec. 19.
Bertuzzi took Pavel Datsyuk’s pass, cut in off the left wing, made a move on Garon, and put a backhander into the empty net as he cut across the slot.
“Everyone knows where we’re at and this team isn’t very familiar with the position we are in,” Bertuzzi said. “There are only so many excuses. It’s up to us in here to get the job done and get on that playoff ladder and then wait for reinforcements to come.”
The return of centre Valtteri Filppula, who missed 26 games with a broken wrist, and Rafalski – who sat out the previous game with the flu – brought the number of Detroit regulars out with injury to six.
The Red Wings had come close to ending the drought about two minutes into the second period when Brad Stuart’s wrist shot from the point deflected off the stick of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger and hit both goal posts.
Darren Helm kept the game tied with about 3 minutes left in the middle period. He dove to swat Umberger’s bouncing shot from the slot off the goal line and out of the crease using first his stick and then his glove.
“It was still in the air, bouncing,” Helm said. “I just hit it and it went up … I didn’t get all of it. It was going backwards towards the net and I was able to knock it away with my glove.”
Vermette opened the scoring with 7:50 left in the second period when he capitalized on Detroit defenceman Derek Meech’s turnover. Meech’s pass out of the right corner was intercepted by Jakub Voracek in the right circle. Howard stopped Voracek’s shot, but Vermette put in the rebound for his 11th goal.
NOTES: Datsyuk and Columbus D Fedor Tyutin were selected to the Russian Olympic Team. Former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov, who plays in Russia, also was selected.