Red Wings show team toughness but lose 4-1 to Devils
The Red Wings once again proved that they have no problem sticking up for a teammate after a questionable hit. Unfortunately, they also once again lost.
Detroit’s game against New Jersey Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena – which the Devils won, 4-1 – ended with an almost brawl deep in the Devils’ zone that had its genesis midway through the third. That’s when Robby Fabbri took a knee-on-knee hit from Jack Hughes, the first pick of the 2019 draft, and limped off the ice and directly into the dressing room.
The 24-year-old Fabbri, who has had two knee surgeries in his relatively short career, did not return.
Hughes received a two-minute minor penalty for tripping on the play.
“I thought it was a bad hit, there’s no reason for it,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought it was a five (minute major), but they called it a two.”
The primary cause of the late scrum was Tyler Bertuzzi’s clean hit on Hughes behind the Devils’ net. New Jersey’s John Hayden retaliated with a crosscheck to Bertuzzi’s face, and the extracurricular activities were on.
“You saw it. I would say the same thing about that one,” Blashill said.
It appeared that Bertuzzi and the Devils’ P.K. Subban wanted to get at each other but were held back by the linesmen. The two did manage to each throw a glove at each other.
“It started out, obviously, us trying to protect our players,” Justin Abdelkader said. “We didn’t think it was a great hit, especially with Fabs’ history of injuries.”
Hughes’ family still lives in Plymouth, where they relocated while he played for the National Team Development Program at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth Township.
Hughes said he was unhappy with a hit he took from Fabbri earlier in the game.
“When you take hit after hit like that, you kind of want to do something yourself,” said Hughes, who also had an assist to give him seven goals and 20 points in 54 games as an 18-year-old rookie.
Said Dylan Larkin: “I’m proud of the way we stuck together. I’m glad we responded that way.”
Larkin said he thought both Bertuzzi and Fabbri were OK. But Blashill said: “I don’t have a further update than that.”
As far as the hockey part of Tuesday night’s contest was concerned, the Red Wings were dominated by the Devils.
“Wasn’t good enough. For some reason we didn’t execute,” Abdelkader said. “We’ve got to execute better, especially at home.”
New Jersey wasted little time in taking the lead as Joey Anderson put in his own rebound just 1:15 after the opening face-off.
“I don’t know for what reason, (but) we didn’t come out and execute in the first period,” Larkin said. “… We spotted them a goal.”
Jesper Bratt got the first of the Devils’ three power-play goals 6:04 into the second period to make it 2-0, and Kyle Pammieri got another power-play goal just 2:47 later when he tipped in Hughes’ perfect pass.
Valtteri Filppula put the Wings on the board with a power-play goal 9:40 into the third period. But Nikata Gusev put in New jersey’s third power-play effort of the night with 6:20 left for the final margin.
“We’ve got to do a better job. We can’t give up three power-play goals,” Frans Nielsen said. “… We just have to execute out there.”
Jonathan Bernier made 27 saves for the Red Wings.
Defenseman Cody Goloubef, whom Detroit acquired off waivers from the Ottawa Senators last week, made his Red Wings debut on Tuesday night.
… Sam Gagner, whom the Wings acquired from Edmonton in the Andreas Athanasiou trade on Monday, and Dmytro Timashov, whom they claimed off waivers from Toronto on Monday, were not available on Tuesday due to visa issues.