The Detroit Red Wings wanted to play with more of that "nothing to lose" mentality that ignited a winning streak down the stretch last season.
It has been mostly a miserable stretch nearly a quarter of the way into this season, but the Wings earned a reprieve Friday at Little Caesars Arena with a competitive performance against the Boston Bruins.
A 60-minute effort against one of the top teams in the NHL yielded a 4-2 victory that bumped the Wings to 5-12-1.
Special teams clicked, the Wings made plays, they hit. Jonathan Bernier came up with big saves. Newcomer Robby Fabbri scored twice on power plays, off passes from Tyler Bertuzzi. That plus a goal from Dylan Larkin built a two-goal lead that stood until Torey Krug scored with seconds left on a power play late in the second period.
A reckless penalty by Madison Bowey – slashing Brad Marchand – forced the Wings to play shorthanded again early in the third period, but they were able to stave off the league's top power play. Anthony Mantha secured the win with an empty-net goal with 1:28 to play in regulation.
The Wings played winning hockey to emerge with a 2-1 lead after the first period. They didn't melt when David Krejci scored 1:09 into the game. Larkin tied things up within two minutes (on a play that earned Bernier an assist), and then Fabbri did what he was brought in to do and scored – on a power play, no less, an area that has been a huge reason behind the Wings' struggles. Bernier made five saves during a Bruins power play. In other words, special teams and goaltending delivered.
Fabbri, acquired Wednesday from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Jacob de la Rose, debuted on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Andreas Athanasiou. The Wings took a low-risk gamble on the 23-year-old forward in the hopes he could rekindle his career with them. He delivered in the first period, hammering a pass from Tyler Bertuzzi that eluded Tuukka Rask, giving the Wings a rare conversion with the man advantage (their power play ranked 28th in the NHL at 12.7% entering the game).
Fabbri showed off his shot again in the second period, scoring on another power play. It marked only the second time this season the Wings have converted twice in one game on man advantages.