Helene St. James | Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Red Wings return home having given their confidence a much-needed shot in the arm.
They played an outstanding road game Saturday, riding topnotch individual performances to a 4-2 victory against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
It was the only the Wings’ second victory in 12 outings, six of which came on this trip, but they had been playing well since a blowout loss at Tampa Bay without much reward.
“It’s tough to keep coming in the room feeling like we played well and not coming away with two points,” Adam Erne said. “Hopefully we can carry it over to Monday.”
Erne contributed a goal in the first period, but it was Luke Glendening who starred. In his first game back after dealing with concussion-like symptoms, the defensive stalwart had a career night with a goal and two assists.
“It was good to have him back,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s a big piece of our team. He can win big faceoffs, he’s a guy who is a heart-and-soul guys. Our guys know what he brings to the table. For him to get rewarded offensively is good, I think he has worked very hard at his skill set to make himself a better hockey player.”
The victory bumped the Wings to 4-10-2. Four victories in 16 tries isn’t much, but the Wings had a turbulent opening month. They lost five players to COVID-19 in the opening week, Jonathan Bernier missed two weeks with an upper-body injury, and Tyler Bertuzzi hasn’t played since Jan. 30 because of an upper-body injury.
Erne and Fabbri were among those who spent two weeks quarantining after testing positive for COVID. Fabbri returned just as this trip began, and Saturday he contributed his third goal in four games, and 50th of his career.
“I thought we had a really good start to the season, and when we lost all those guys, it took a lot out of us,” Bernier said. “But our last four or five games have been pretty good. We just have to keep doing the right things.”
Bernier had a good outing in his return, robbing Matt Duchene with a sprawling glove save late in the first period and making 11 of 21 saves in the third period. But Bernier had help, too: Teammates played well defensively, and the Erne, Glendening and Valtteri Filppula contributed five points.
“I don’t think we’re a team that’s going to score a crazy amount of goals, unfortunately,” Erne said, “but some nights you are going to need guys you wouldn’t expect to score every night, to score. It feels good to get a win.”
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It’s only the third time the Wings have scored four goals. Dylan Larkin tried his best to make it five goals, tallying eight shots on net.
Though the power play fell to 4-for-51 on the season, the Wings looked dangerous, moving the puck well and creating chaos around the net and registering six shots.
After starting the trip with a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay, including giving up three goals in the first five minutes, the Wings looked respectable in their rematch against the defending Stanley Cup champions and in the miniseries at Florida and Nashville. The first game against the Predators was tied until the final minute, when the Wings made a mistake that led to a loss. The answer was to get back up and punch back.
“We’ve played pretty good games in a row since we got embarrassed against Tampa,” Blashill said. “I thought we could have been rewarded the last game against Nashville, the second game against Florida. So it’s good to find ways to win. We came out after what was really a gut punch and lost the other night. We talked about it as a group, that these are the moments that really show your character and you have to find a way to play great hockey.”
They begin a six-game stretch of home games Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.