Detroit — It’s been well over a year but the Detroit Red Wings finally have a victory.
Robby Fabbri, who just missed scoring a goal moments before, broke a tie at 17 minutes, 18 seconds of the third period Saturday night, leading the Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Filip Zadina fed Fabbri to the side of the net, and Fabbri slipped a shot past Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek.
Zadina also set up Bobby Ryan for the Wings’ first goal, and Dylan Larkin had two goals including an empty-netter at 18:04 to secure the victory.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 29 shots to earn the win, as the Wings salvaged a split in the season-opening two-game series.
“We competed extremely hard, that’s the level of compete you need in order to have a chance to win in this league,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That was the biggest thing that stood out for me. Between our work ethic and compete, I was real happy.
“The other thing is, we were deeper as a team. We had four lines going pretty hard, not everybody gets as much ice time as they’d like, but all four lines were going and all six defensemen went well. Ultimately, we’ll have to win that way.”
The Wings’ last victory? March 8, 2020, when they defeated eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa 5-4 in a shootout — a few days before the pandemic closed most every sport.
And considering the sluggish way the Wings opened the season against Carolina, Saturday’s victory was needed and felt good.
“We got timely goals and we outplayed a great team,” Larkin said.
Vincent Trocheck (power play) and Andrei Svechnikov scored for Carolina, Svechnikov tying the score 2-2 at 8:56 of the third period.
But the Wings, unlike a year ago, didn’t unravel. Rather, they stayed poised and got the two late goals.
“Between the fresh faces and (ten) months between seasons, i didn’t feel, like, any residual effect from a year ago,” Blashill said. “A year ago when we got scored on, it felt like we got scored on 10 times. Tonight, i just thought we did a good job of keep on playing and we got right out and scored (after Carolina tied the score in the third period) and got a huge response, and we responded again with the game winning goal.”
Ryan, in his first game as a Wing, scored his first goal with the team.
Zadina made a fine play, stripping the puck from a Hurricanes defender, then corralling the puck and finding Ryan in the slot, and Ryan scored the Wings’ first goal of the season.
“We’ve seen it for months, he’s been skating in town with us, he’s so skilled,” Larkin said. “He just has great hockey sense, gets to the open spots, and finds guys. To see him get that one, it was awesome, fired us up. We needed someone to get that first one for the guys.”
Larkin broke a 1-1 tie, just 18 seconds after Trocheck had tied the score 1-1 in the second period. Larkin skated the puck down the ice, whirled behind the net, and centered a puck that bounced off Trocheck’s net and past Mrazek.
The Zadina, Fabbri and Ryan line was buzzing most of the game and gave glimpses of a potential dangerous unit after the Larkin line.
Zadina set up both his linemates for goals, and had a fine game at both ends of the rink.
“It’s just a pleasure for me to play with them,” Zadina said of his veteran linemates. “It takes time to make some chemistry, but we kind of know where we’re at (on the ice) and we just have to keep it going.”