Darren Helm suffers upper-body injury in Red Wings victory

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News


Referee Gord Dwyer escorts Darren Helm off the ice following a first-period injury.

Newark, N.J. — Few players have been snake-bitten with injuries like Darren Helm has been throughout his career.

Saturday, Helm was struck again.

Helm suffered some sort of arm injury, either left shoulder area or left wrist, after an awkward fall along the boards early in the first period.

Helm left the game in obvious pain and didn’t return.

After the Red Wings’ 3-2, overtime victory, coach Jeff Blashill said Helm would be out of action for “some time”.

“He’ll be out for some time,” Blashill said. “I don’t have a time period, I’ll know more Monday, but he’ll be out for some time.”

Blashill acknowledged it was a significant injury, but wouldn’t speculate as to how long Helm might be out.

Helm, 31, has suffered a sprained knee, fractured cheekbone, lacerated tendon in his forearm, a concussion and sprained shoulder during his career.

Saturday, Helm fell awkwardly after being checked by Devils forward Travis Zajac, and appeared to fall with all his weight coming down on his wrist.

Helm seemed to be favoring his wrist as he was slowly coming off the ice.

“It was an unfortunate play,” said Dylan Larkin, who has thrived with Helm as a linemate in recent games. “I don’t think it was a dirty play or anything, it was a weird thing that happened when he went down to the ice.

“It hurts, He’s such a consistent player for us, he kills penalties and forechecks hard and he’s someone I love playing with.”

Luke Glendening, who has been on many checking lines with Helm, agreed Helm’s loss would be felt.

“Absolutely, he’s been a huge part of this team for a long time,” Glendening said. “To see him get hurt again, it’s devastating, but we wish him the best and we’ll continue on.

“But his presence will be missed, that’s for sure.”

Brilliant Bernier

Somewhat lost amid the Red Wings’ victory was goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopping 38 shots.

Bernier and Jimmy Howard continue to give the team consistently effective goaltending.

Bernier was signed in the off-season to back up Howard and supply the team with quality goaltending from the backup goalie position — which they haven’t had the past few seasons.

So far, Bernier is filling the role superbly.

“It’s not an easy role but it is one he has done, so he understands the role,” Blashill said.

The Wings started Bernier Saturday to make sure Bernier doesn’t go a week, or so, between starts. With a break in the schedule, Bernier isn’t expected to play again until Friday or Saturday.

“We’re going to keep trying to get him his starts and when he plays like that, he’ll keep getting them,” Blashill said.

Bernier feels the rotation is working so far, and added he and Howard are pushing each other to quality outings.

“I can’t be focusing on how many games I’ll play or how many games Howie will play, I feel like me and Howie are pushing each other every day and we’re trying to do the best we can to win some hockey games,” Bernier said. “That’s our only job. I can’t really control how many games I’ll play.”

Ice chips

Forward Jacob de la Rose returned to the lineup after missing three games, playing 11:46 in 17 shifts, with a plus-1 rating, and credited with one shot and one hit.

… The Wings have won 8 of their last 10 — after winning 1 of their first 10 — and seem to be gaining confidence. They’ve overcome two-goal deficits in each of the last four victories.

“Confidence is the biggest factor in success in the NHL today, because of how close every team is and how close every player is,” Blashill said. “I can’t say that enough times. I don’t know if everyone on the outside totally understands it. It’s the biggest factor. As you win, you gain confidence and certainly you gain some swagger.”

… The Red Wings were remaining in the New York area Saturday night and held their team dinner — which the rookies will be paying for.

… Glendening’s second-period goal ended a shutout streak of 114 minutes, 22 seconds for Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid.


Twitter: @tkulfan