Todd Bertuzzi scored twice on Saturday night, carrying the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a home-and-home series.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made 28 saves in the win, including 14 in a first period that saw the Red Wings badly outshot.
Antoine Vermette opened the game’s scoring with 7:50 left in that opening period. Jakub Vorecek picked up the puck in the Detroit end on a miscommunication between Derek Meech and Valtteri Filppula. Howard stopped Vorecek’s chance but Vermette scored on the rebound to put Columbus in front.
Detroit nearly tied the game early in the second when a Brad Stuart shot deflected off of R.J. Umberger before hitting both posts and bouncing out.
Bertuzzi scored his first of the game to even things up, taking a feed from Pavel Datsyuk in behind the defense and cutting around netminder Mathieu Garon for a power play goal at 6:38 of the second.
It looked like Columbus would retake the lead with three minutes left in the middle period but a tremendous defensive play by Darren Helm kept the game tied. A shot from Umberger bounced over Howard and was headed into the net before Helm swatted the puck up into the air at the goal line and then batted it out of the crease with his glove.
Bertuzzi would add his second at 2:44 of the third to put the Red Wings in front. Brian Rafalski fired a shot from the blue line intentionally wide of the net and Bertuzzi was there to pick up the puck as it came out the other side, banging it into the open cage.
In the game’s closing seconds Filppula put a shot off the side of an empty Columbus net but the Wings held on without the insurance goal.
Bertuzzi’s first goal was the game’s only power play tally. The Red Wings had five chances with the extra attacker while the Blue Jackets had four.
Garon finished the night with 25 saves on 27 Detroit chances.
The two teams meet again on Monday in Columbus.
Rafalski and Filppula returned to the Detroit lineup. Rafalski had missed one game with the flu while Filppula had been out since October with a broken wrist. The Red Wings are now down to seven injured regulars.