Instant impact: Robby Fabbri scores twice in debut, helps Wings top Bruins
Detroit — With a few more nights like Friday, Robby Fabbri and the Red Wings could be quite the match.
Fabbri, a forward who was acquired in a trade from St. Louis on Wednesday, had a pair of goals in his Detroit debut as the slumping Red Wings knocked off Boston, 4-2, at Little Caesars Arena.
Both of Fabbri’s goals were one-timers on the power play from the slot, and both were set up on centering passes by Tyler Bertuzzi. It was Fabbri’s first multi-goal game since his only career hat trick on Dec. 28, 2016. It was also his fourth multi-goal game of his career and came on two shots.
"The way we played from start to finish, the style that they played, it's a hard-working group," said Fabbri, who became the seventh player in franchise history to score twice in his Red Wings debut. "This organization is something I followed growing up, so to be part of this organization and be connected to it, for now, is really nice."
The Red Wings have won four straight against the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins, and the win snapped a four-game losing streak. The Red Wings became the last NHL team to post double-digit points, improving to 5-12-1.
Detroit came in 1-11-1 in last its last 13 games, as Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha added goals, a team-leading 10th for Mantha into an empty net.
Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves and became the second different Red Wings goaltender to record two assists in one game.
Fabbri, who was acquired in exchange for center Jacob de la Rose, was immediately placed into the second line by coach Jeff Blashill. His line was centered by Valtteri Filppula with Andreas Athanasiou on the right side.
But Fabbri made most of his hay on the power play with Bertuzzi and Larkin, with Mantha on the point alongside defenseman Dennis Cholowski. Detroit came in 28th in the league with a 12.8% power-play rate, but went 2-for-5 on Friday.
Fabbri, a 2014 first-round pick, came in with one goal and a season-high of 11 minutes, 55 seconds of ice time in nine games with the Blues. He easily passed that with 13:15 of play on Friday.
It looked like more of the same early for Detroit, which moved into a tie for last place in the NHL with Ottawa, Minnesota and Los Angeles.
Boston scored 69 seconds into the game on its first shot, and Bernier’s shoulders slumped.
But just 92 seconds later, Larkin tied the game as his wraparound attempt bounced off goaltender Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron. It was Larkin’s fifth goal of the season.
"That was a huge, huge thing," Blashill said. "It allows you to just keep playing. Momentum is a game is such a big deal.
"That goal allowed us to start even again."
Fabbri’s first goal gave the Wings the lead and his second, 90 seconds into the second period, put Detroit up 3-1. He appears to have a good connection with Bertuzzi, his former juniors teammate in Guelph where they two won an Ontario Hockey League championship in 2014.
"The power play was moving it well, which opened me up in the middle there," Fabbri said. "He made two great passes."
Added Bertuzzi: "It didn't take long for our connection to come back."
With just over 2 minutes to play in the second, Livonia’s Torey Krug made it a one-goal game. His power-play goal went through Darren Helm, who was penalty-killing without a stick, and the screening Bergeron.
For Krug, who played at Michigan State, it was his 11th point in his last 11 games.
Shortly after his goal, Bernier had his best stop of the night, stopping David Pastrnak point-black after a Red Wings giveaway. Pastrnak came into the game with an NHL-leading 15 goals.
"I knew he was there," Bernier said. "Obviously I was late, and you want to make an easy save there, but I just tried to cover as much as possible and got the glove on it."
The line of Brad Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak were held scoreless at full strength by Bertuzzi, Larkin and Mantha.
"That was our goal was to shut them down and not give them anything," Bertuzzi said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of that."
Bernier had never had two assists in a season, let alone one game. The pair of assists brought his 12-year career total to seven in his third win of the season.
It was the league's first multi-point game for a goaltender since Rask did it on Oct. 16, 2016, and the third in Detroit's history, joining a pair of games by Jim Rutherford in the late 1970s.
Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek had his first fighting major, getting two shots in on Marchand's body before the pesky center took him down in the second period.
"I think that physicality brings emotion out," Blashill said, also singling out the toughness of left wing Adam Erne. "It brings emotion to the building. It's a positive thing for us, and we need to continue to do that to be harder to play against."
Mike Green, who missed three games with an illness, and Frans Nielsen, who missed one game, returned to the lineup for the Red Wings.
Detroit, which had 32 shots, will host Las Vegas on Sunday.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.