DETROIT – Tyler Bertuzzi went from being known as one of the NHL’s four non-vaccinated players to becoming the first Detroit Red Wings player ever to net four goals in a season opener.
The Tyler Bertuzzi goal barrage was wasted in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The feisty winger scored three goals in the second period and one in the third period in his first regular-season game in nine months. He just missed a fifth goal, shooting wide on a breakaway with under seven minutes left in regulation.
He hasn’t played a meaningful game since Jan. 31 when he suffered an injury that required offseason back injury. Bertuzzi ended up with only nine games played last season. If you add this game to his nine last season, he has nine goals in his past 10 games.
“It’s great to see him play at that level,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
Clearly, Tyler Bertuzzi showed in the opener how valuable he can be. If he continues to play with this level of passion, he could be a catalyst to a better-than-expected Red Wings’ season. No one expects him to be a 40-goal scorer, but he plays with an energy that can fuel a team. When he as flying around the ice like a pinball in play, the Red Wings were also playining with intensity against the Lightning
Red Wings Played Sloppy
At times, the Red Wings looked like they were in charge of the game. At other times, they looked like they couldn’t defend. Blashill called the game “chaotic.”
The Red Wings blew 4-1 and 6-3 leads to allow the Lightning to force overtime. They Red Wings never had the puck in overtime before Ondrej Palat scored the game-winner at 2:43.
“You’ve got to be able to finish that out,” Blashill said.
Even if you factor in that the Lightning are a dynamic team, the Red Wings were too leaky on the defensive end.
Rookies Were Not Liabilities
Both Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider were noteworthy performers in their NHL debuts. Seider had two assists, and Raymond had one. Seider had three hits.
“They did a good job on a number of things,” Blashill.said
You can see how Seider is going to help the Red Wings in a number of areas, such as on the power play, as tower of strength in front of the net and as a physical presence. He’s a big load to handle for opponents. After just a few preseason games, you can already see his game coming together..
Can’t Blame Nedeljkovic
Can you look solid when you give up seven goals? Maybe “solid” is an overstatement, but Alex Nedeljkovic didn’t play as poorly as you would think given the score.
He made some impressive saves. His defense betrayed him. The defensive coverage was leaky. The more goals the Red Wings scored, the more sloppy they became.
Positive or negative game?
This was a bad point, not a good point. The Red Wings should have closed out the Lightning. It doesn’t matter how accomplished the Lightning are.
However, there were signs in this game that suggest the Red Wings can be an improved team. The Red Wings were the NHL’s 30th-ranked offensive team last season. They had lots of goals and chances against an exceptional defensse and goalie. It looks like Seider and Raymond can help immediately. They were 1-for-5 on the power play. They were frustrated they didn’t get more. But 1-for-5 is 20%. That’s better than last season’s 11%. Nick Leddy was noticeable. You can tell he’s going to have an impact.