Detroit — The Red Wings won but that wasn’t the biggest news Thursday.
Yes, the 3-2 victory over Dallas, behind three Robby Fabbri goals, was another fine step for a Wings’ team that’s won three of four games against the division’s best teams.
But the Wings (10-17-4) also suffered what might be a big, big loss.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who has arguably been the Wings’ best player, was injured with 1:28 remaining in the second period, left the game and didn’t return.
Bernier was reaching for a puck to the left of the net when Stars forward Denis Gurianov fell on top of him. Bernier lay on the ice and then had to be helped off.
Bernier, who stopped all 22 shots he faced, didn’t put any weight on his right leg.
“I know pretty much what you know,” coach Jeff Blashill said after the game. “He left the game. I’ll know more (Friday) in terms of where he’s at.”
Said Fabbri: “It’s never good when you see anyone on your team go down. We weren’t real sure what it was at the time. We’re hoping it’s not too serious and he can come back as soon as possible.”
Thomas Greiss, making his first appearance in nine days, replaced Bernier and stopped 16 shots.
“It’s a tough situation to go into,” Blashill said. “Our guys wanted to get him through that game and ultimately he (Greiss) recorded the win. He’s a guy our guys like a lot and he came in and did a great job.”
The Stars made it interesting when Jason Dickinson tipped a shot past Greiss, with the Stars’ goalie pulled. That cut the Wings lead to 3-2 with 1:20 left.
But the Wings held on, Greiss making a key glove save to preserve the victory.
If it weren’t for Bernier’s injury, Fabbri would have received all the headlines.
He scored in each period, and has nine for the season, fueling the Wings best stretch in a long time.
“It’s refreshing to get some results after the work we’re putting in,” Fabbri said. “We’ve had the same mindset, we come to the rink and we’re working to our identity and the way we have to play each and every night. That’s what good teams do, they bring the same game every night and we’re doing a great job of that right now.
“We’re happy but we’re not satisfied. There’s still a long road to go here and we’re definitely on the right track.”
The winning breeds confidence, Blashill said.
“Winning is more fun, it just is,” Blashill said. “We’re lucky to do the jobs we do, but certainly it’s more enjoyable when you win and harder when you lose, and we’ve lost a lot.
“But our guys have done a great job of continuing to come in and work and fight through the frustration when it’s been tough here. But it’s certainly more fun when you have a chance to win.”
Fabbri opened the scoring at the 14-minute mark of the first period.
Anthony Mantha and Fabbri skated into the zone on a 2-on-2 rush. Mantha fed Fabbri crossing the ice, and the forward wristed a shot past Stars goalie Jake Oettinger.
Fabbri got his second goal of the game at 6:36 of the second period. He skated down the right side and blasted a shot from the top of the dot, giving the Wings a 2-0 lead.
Fabbri capped his hat trick at 9:05 of the third period.
Oettinger denied Dylan Larkin on a partial breakaway but left the puck near the crease. Fabbri tapped it home to make it 3-0.
“I was yelling ‘all you, all you’, I wanted him (Larkin) to go in and not pass up a chance to try and have me get the hat trick,” Fabbri said. “But in the end, it worked out.”
The line of Fabbri, Larkin and Mantha is slowly becoming a force as they jell.
“We’re really close off the ice and we’re trying to convert that on the ice,” Fabbri said. “It just starts with work ethic and being predictable to each other and that comes with playing games together and getting used to each other.”
Roope Hintz scored 25 seconds after Fabbri’s third goal, deflecting a puck past Greiss, getting Dallas (9-10-7) within 3-1.
“They came out in the first and had a little better jump, and they were shooting everything and obviously they had some jump in the third,” Blashill said. “The second (period) was what I liked most. We put pucks behind their defense and as a result we didn’t give up much at all and created offense out of it. We have to make sure we replicate that second (period) on Saturday.”