Wings beat Chicago 2-1 after pre-game comedy from Daniels, Coulier
Apparently, all the Red Wings needed was a little pre-game levity.
With Detroit mired in yet another losing streak – six games (0-5-1) this time – coach Jeff Blashill decided to change the pre-game routine a bit. He arranged for veteran actor, Michigan native and prominent Red Wings fan Jeff Daniels and another Michigander, comedian and actor Dave Coulier, to put their comedic spin on announcing the starting lineup in the dressing room before Friday night’s contest against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I loved “Dumb and Dumber” so it was great,” said Tyler Bertuzzi, speaking of the iconic 1994 comedy in which Daniels co-starred with Jim Carrey. “… They did the starting lineup, and they were very funny.”
Bertuzzi and his teammates then got serious and defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 to snap the losing skid.
Detroit came out with some jump and kept the play in the Chicago end for about the first minute. Then the Blackhawks had a two-on-one, but Jonathan Bernier made a spectacular save on Farmingon Hills native Alex DeBrincat’s one-timer from the bottom of the right circle.
“Obviously, you feel good and you want to keep going in that direction,” said Bernier, who made 32 total saves.
The first period was scoreless but 20 seconds into the second, Bertuzzi scored his first goal in 14 games and 19th of the season. Robby Fabbri, who moved to center between San Gagner and Dmytro Timashov, put in a power-play goal with 9:55 left in the second period. It was Fabbri’s 14th goal.
Superstar Patrick Kane put the Blackhawks on the board with 1:05 left in the middle period, but Bernier and the Wings held on for the rest of the game.
The loss broke Chicago’s four-game winning streak and dealt a serious blow to its fading chances of making the playoffs. The Blackhawks are four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Dylan Larkin said of being a spoiler. “And no matter what, winning is better than losing.”
Chicago played the line of Kane, captain Jonathan Towes and Brandon Saad every other shift for virtually the entire third period but could not get another one past Bernier.
“That’s what you try to do every night, but I thought it was the PK tonight,” Bernier said.
The Red Wings killed off all three Blackhawk power plays.
“We haven’t won many games on speciality teams for sure. At times it’s cost us this year and our special teams haven’t been good enough,” Blashill said. “We got a big power-play goal from Fabbs (Fabbri) and huge kills, especially a huge kill at the end of the third,” when defenseman Alex Biega went off for hooking with 8:41 left. “That was a huge, huge kill. We gotta keep working to stay out of the box. We’ve taken too many penalties. But I thought the PK looked real good.”
So, for once this season, the Red Wings were all smiles before and after the game.
Rookie defenseman Gustav Lindstrom got his first career point on Fabbri’s goal. Lindstrom’s pass set up Fabbri’s one-time slap shot from the high slot area.