Detroit Red Wings snap PP streak, win back-to-back games for first time in 2021

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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The Detroit Red Wings boosted their confidence with a well-played outing against an Original Six rival.

Their 5-3 victory Saturday at United Center marked the first time in five meetings this season the Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks, and the first time the Wings have won consecutive games. With three victories in their last four games, the Wings improved to 7-13-3, enough to leap past the Dallas Stars and out of the bottom spot in the Central Division.

The five goals matched the season high scored Thursday. Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves in his fourth straight start, and in a rare instance this season, the Wings also won the special teams battle, limited as it was.

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Detroit Red Wings right wing Bobby Ryan (54) scores a goal past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban (30) in the first period at the United Center on Feb. 27, 2021, in Chicago.
Detroit Red Wings right wing Bobby Ryan (54) scores a goal past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban (30) in the first period at the United Center on Feb. 27, 2021, in Chicago.

The Wings were without their captain, Dylan Larkin, who did not travel to Chicago after suffering an upper-body injury Thursday. They came out of the first period with a lead thanks in large part to Bernier, who made 14 saves, and to the chemistry between Bobby Ryan and Robby Fabbri, who paired up to provide a 1-0 lead. Fabbri also set up Christian Djoos, who scored on a power play after Darren Helm contributed his first goal of the season in the second period. Djoos’ goal marked the first time the Wings converted on a man advantage in 41 opportunities, dating to Jan. 28.

Evgeny Svechnikov and Frans Nielsen bookended third-period goals around one from Chicago's Mattias Janmark. Svechnikov, Nielsen, Fabbri and Valtteri Filppula all had two-point nights.

The penalty killers came up big, too, against the NHL’s top-ranked power play, keeping them from getting any shots on net.

The teams play again Sunday.

Svechnikov finds opportunity

The injury to Larkin led to Robby Fabbri being moved up to center the first line, between Bobby Ryan and Anthony Mantha. Vladislav Namestnikov centered the second line, between Filip Zadina and Sam Gagner. Gagner had been in the bottom six, so his promotion provided Svechnikov with his first opportunity of the season after being on the taxi squad since Feb. 16. Svechnikov had a breakaway early in the third period but was stopped, but he jammed in a rebound off Frans Nielsen’s shot at 2:33 of the period.

[ Wings treatment of Evgeny Svechnikov is unusual. Now, his window is closing ]

Ryan finds the net

Ryan contributed his third point in two games midway through the first period. Robby Fabbri put in a hard shift to set up the goal; Nikita Zadorov tried to rub out Fabbri along the boards, but Fabbri refused to be denied space. He strode into open ice and was able to pass the puck to Ryan, who skated past three defenders to beat Malcom Subban in net. That was Ryan’s team-leading sixth goal of the season.

Wings find momentum

Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills) scored at 13:53 of the second period, but the Wings reclaimed momentum within 13 seconds. Luke Glendening, who was having an excellent night on faceoffs, went beneath the goal line to battle for the puck. The Blackhawks had three defenders there, leaving Helm alone in front of their net to score. Djoos made it 3-1 at 18:27, pinching to the slot and faking a shot before beating Subban high on the blocker side. That was Djoos’ second goal of the season, tying Marc Staal for the team lead among defensemen. Both are new to the Wings this season; Staal was a trade acquisition, Djoos was claimed off waivers.

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 book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings snap PP streak, win back-to-back games for 1st time