Detroit Red Wings’ special teams bedeviled by New Jersey, 5-1, at LCA

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings were dinged while short-handed, and then they were just dinged.

They didn’t give up much at even strength the first 40 minutes Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena, but once the New Jersey Devils got rolling, they rolled over the Wings, 5-1.

The Wings came into the game having won three of four. They started fine and Ville Husso looked good early on, but two penalties in the second period left them in a two-goal hole. It got deeper two minutes into the third period. Husso denied Miles Wood on a rush, but the Wings failed to contain the second-chance attempt and Michael McLeod made them pay. Alexander Holtz made it 4-0 five minutes later. Jack Hughes showed off why he was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft when he maneuvered the puck into the net through a small opening between Ville Husso’s leg and the post with six minutes to play.

The Wings (16-13-7) next play Friday at home against the Florida Panthers.

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Fabbri appears

Robby Fabbri made his season debut, having spent the first three months rehabilitating from his third major knee surgery (and the second on his right knee). Fabbri started on a line with Pius Suter and Oskar Sundqvist, a combination that has a dash of scoring, sound defense and net-front presence. Fabbri has a nose for offense and plays with some jam, but there’s also a good deal of risk to his game — he has a minus-75 rating in 302 games — so he will need to catch up on the system implemented by the new coaching staff, which has reduced turnovers and opposing scoring chances. Fabbri created a scoring opportunity in the first period when he picked up the puck along the boards and centered a pass to Sundqvist, who was in the slot.

Special teams difference

After a penalty-free first period, the Wings had a power play 6:58 into the second period. Moritz Seider forced a save from Vitek Vanecek with a shot from the blue line, and Dominik Kubalik tried a slap shot. Fabbri had a shot blocked. A few minutes after the Wings were unable to convert, they faced a penalty kill when Ben Chiarot was called for tripping. It took the Devils five seconds to score: Nico Hischier won a faceoff against Dylan Larkin; Hughes got the puck and sent it to Dougie Hamilton, who fired a shot from the high slot through traffic at 9:17. The Devils made it 2-for-2 on power plays when Hamilton fired a shot that Hischier tipped while Jake Walman was in the penalty box late in the second period. Holtz’s goal came two seconds after another penalty on Walman had expired. Lucas Raymond put the Wings on the board when he converted on a power play with two minutes to play.

Husso’s form

Husso made a big save on Hischier in the first period, when Hischier was part of a scrum in the crease. It was Husso’s first start since Dec. 28, when he was pulled after surrendering four goals on 12 shots in the first period in Pittsburgh. Husso had been dealing with illness coming out of the holiday break. He made several good saves Wednesday, and didn’t have much of a chance on either power play goal.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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