DETROIT – They may be the new age Dead Wings, but they didn’t play that way here Friday night against the Bruins.
Ranked dead last in the 31-team NHL with a 4-12-1 record, the Wings made the most of a pair of Robby Fabbri power-play goals and Boston’s overall slow-to-percolate approach for a 4-2 win over the Bruins here at Little Caesars Arena.
The loss was the second in as many games for the Bruins, following their 5-4 loss to the Habs Tuesday night in Montreal. It’s the first time in 2019-’20 that they have lost back-to-back games in regulation.
David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins, who couldn’t rally to tie once the Wings broke a 1-1 deadlock in the first period with Fabbri’s first of two goals.
The Bruins, who are back to work Sunday night at the Garden vs the Flyers, generated a little more spark midway through the second period, but couldn’t fully buy their way back into the action.
Tuukka Rask vacated the Boston net for an extra attacker with about 2:00 remaining in regulation and Anthony Mantha stuck in an empty-net goal from along the left-wing boards with 1:28 remaining to go.
■ The Bruins started off on the right side of things, David Krejci cashing in their first shot of the night with only 1:09 ticked off the clock. His new linemate, Peter Cehlarik, set up Krecji in the middle of the right wing circle and he connected with a quick snap that beat Jonathan Bernier to the short side.
■ Brett Ritchie, struggling of late with an infected elbow, was a surprise scratch for the Bruins. He was penciled in to play on the fourth line, but he rode the far end of the press box for the night. Steve Kampfer dressed as a seventh defenseman, but by and large Cassidy spotted different forwards to play with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner on the fourth line.
■ Cassidy altered his D pairings slightly from the start, partnering team captain Zdeno Chara with Connor Clifton, and moving Charlie McAvoy over to a pairing with fellow BU alum Matt Grzelcyk. By the second period, he was using his more customary pairings.
■ Rare lack of discipline by the Bruins in the opening period, twice leading to minor penalties being called in their offensive zone, first to David Pastrnak (hooking) and then Brad Marchand (interference.). The Bruins killed the first, but newcomer Robby Fabbri connected on the second, pushing the Winged Wheels out to the 2-1 lead at 11:49. Nothing bugs coaches quite as much as players getting bagged on minors in their attack zone.
■ Another dumb penalty in the O zone, again by Pastrnak, only 0:28 into the second period set the stage for another power-play strike by Fabbri. Again it was Tyler Bertuzzi with the primary feed, leaving the Wings with the 3-1 lead.
■ The Wings acquired Fabbri earlier in the week from the Blues, one of many minor deals made by new Wings GM Steve Yzerman. Less than 22 minutes into his debut, Fabbri had two goals, equaling what he posted in 32 games for the Blues last season. He and Bertuzzi were regular linemates during their days together at OHL Guelph.
■ Midway through the second, with the Bruins still struggling to find their mojo, Marchand tried to jumpstart their dead battery and got into a tussle with Czech backliner Filip Hronek. Old school trick, but it appeared to work, with the Bruins plumbing some more emotion out of their well for the remainder of the period.
■ The Bruins closed within 3-2 with a power-play goal with 2:08 left in the second. Krug, working center point on the PP, closed to about 40 feet and launched a quick wrister that Bergeron tipped and angled in by Bernier.
■ Bernier made his best stop of the night, a sparkler with 1:07 to go in the second, when he did the splits to cover the right post and gloved Pastrnak’s doorstep lift of a Marchand feed. It looked like a guaranteed No. 16 for Pasta, but the alert Bernier gobbled it up with an alert gold glove. Good leather.