The player the Detroit Red Wings could least afford to lose skated off the ice on one leg, helped by two teammates.
Robby Fabbri had a natural hat trick Thursday against the Dallas Stars, but the game was marred by Jonathan Bernier’s departure late in the second period after a collision in his crease. That robbed the Wings of the goaltender who consistently has sustained them during this challenging season.
They withstood a late challenge to win, 3-2. It’s only the second time this season the Wings have won two games in a row; the win gave them a 3-1-1 record in their past five games and a 10-17-4 mark overall.
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Bernier was reaching for a loose puck when Patrik Nemeth crashed into him. It’s the second time this season Bernier has left a game after being run into by a teammate; he left Jan. 28, also against the Stars, after Mantha crashed the net. Bernier favored his right leg as he was helped off the ice by Dylan Larkin and Vladislav Namestnikov. An update on Bernier was not immediately available, but it didn’t look good. The last time Bernier was injured, the Wings went 1-5-1 without him.
Two goals from Fabbri provided a nice lead when Thomas Greiss took over. Greiss has struggled to provide consistency; he had a .883 save percentage and 3.41 goals-against average coming into the game. Fabbri found the net again midway through the third period to earn his second career hat trick. Roope Hintz scored 25 seconds later and Jason Dickinson scored after the Stars pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, with 1:20 to play. Final shots favored the Stars, 40-21.
Bobby Ryan (upper body) missed a second straight game but the hope is he’s available for Saturday’s rematch.
One in four
Bernier had his hands — and legs and torso — early, making save after save. The Wings didn’t have trouble gaining Dallas’ zone, but they did struggle to find lanes to put pucks on Jake Oettinger. The shot advantage was 10-2, Stars, when offsetting penalties to Vladislav Namestnikov (embellishment) and Ty Dellandrea (interference) were called at the 13-minute mark. A minute later, Fabbri had his seventh goal of the season. The Wings were outshot 14-4 in the first period.
Five in four
In the first period, Anthony Mantha strode into Dallas’ zone and slipped the puck to Fabbri. That was Mantha’s fifth point in four games (two goals, three assists). This is the kind of hockey the Wings need to see from Mantha, where he’s moving his feet and using his size to back down opponents. Mantha has skated way better and been noticeably more active with the puck over the past handful of games, after a lethargic first half. Mantha didn’t record his first multipoint performance until his 26th game of the season.
One in two
Fabbri doubled up at 6:36 of the second period. Taking a pass from Marc Staal, Fabbri fired a shot from the top of the right circle, sending a wobbly puck glove side on Oettinger on what was the Wings’ second shot on net of the period. It was Fabbri’s first multi-goal game of the season; he scored two goals twice last season, including Nov. 8 when he made his debut with the Wings after a trade with St. Louis.
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.