The mere fact that it was Todd Bertuzzi’s 1,000th game made this afternoon’s contest against the Minnesota Wild special enough. Yet Bertuzzi was able to script a great ending to his milestone, as the surging power forward scored a nice backhand goal to cap a 2-1 shootout win for the Detroit Red Wings.
The divisive power forward received boos when he touched the puck (unless it was actually one of those “Boo-urns”-style chants that sounded like boos?), but he made some nice plays in a well-played if offensively limited contest.
Bertuzzi might be the headliner for this game, but Niklas Backstrom was probably the best player on the ice. The Finnish goalie stopped 38 shots in regulation, only allowing a Nicklas Lidstrom goal early in the third period. Martin Havlat scored Minnesota’s only goal on a breakaway a little under five minutes into the final frame.
Pavel Datsyuk scored an absolute beauty to open up the scoring in the shootout while Bertuzzi clinched the Red Wings’ win. Jimmy Howard turned aside both Wild shooters and made 25 out of 26 saves during the actual game to win his 30th game of the season.
The Red Wings now have 80 points on the season, leaving them five points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the West. Minnesota would have loved to win this game, but they’ll take the charity point. That moves them to 68 points so far this season, placing them in a five-team tie for sixth in the West. At this moment, wins and games played tiebreakers technically place them in eighth.
If the Mikko Koivu misses a significant amount of time, players such as Backstrom and Havlat must carry the Wild. They did so this afternoon, even if they came up a little bit short against the Red Wings.
Update: here is video footage of Bertuzzi discussing his 1,000th game.