DETROIT – Robby Fabbri backhanded a pass toward the slot, and it bounced into the net off the leg of an opposing defenceman.
The following period, Fabbri took a shot from the right circle that was saved by the goalie — before bouncing in, pinball style, off the same unlucky defenceman.
After 12 games without a win, everything was finally breaking right for the Detroit Red Wings.
Fabbri scored twice on those fortuitous caroms, and the Red Wings snapped a 12-game winless streak with a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. Both off Fabbri’s goals went in off the body of Jets defenceman Neal Pionk.
“Those are some early Christmas gifts there,” Fabbri said. “That’s what it takes to win. It’s not always going to be pretty.”
The Red Wings will take a victory in any fashion after they’d gone 0-10-2 in their previous 12 games and had dropped 10 in a row in regulation. Darren Helm, Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek also scored for Detroit.
Kyle Connor scored twice for the Jets.
Helm opened the scoring on a breakaway after a messy sequence of blunders by Winnipeg defenceman Nathan Beaulieu. First, Beaulieu let the puck get past him at the Detroit blue line. Then, after chasing it down in the neutral zone, he let the puck slip away from his control — right into the path of Helm.
While trying to recover, Beaulieu skated right into linesman Greg Devorski, and at that point, Helm was gone. He beat goalie Connor Hellebuyck with a wrist shot to make it 1-0.
“It bounced over my stick, and I fumbled it again, and then I ran into the linesman,” Beaulieu said. “It’s probably my fault. I’ll take that — I’ll take ownership for that.”
Detroit scored on the power play later in the first period when Fabbri’s backhanded pass attempt bounced off Pionk’s right leg and past Hellebuyck.
The goals were fluky, but the Red Wings fully deserved the lead after outshooting Winnipeg 14-5 in the first. The bounces kept going Detroit’s way in the second.
Fabbri took a shot from the right circle that Hellebuyck saved, only to have the rebound carom in again off Pionk, who was set up in front of the net. That made it 3-0.
“We had puck luck tonight, for sure,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We haven’t had much of that. We’ve probably had some of it go against us. It’s got a way of evening out.”
Connor redirected Beaulieu’s shot from the blue line for Winnipeg’s first goal, and he added another in the second period, beating goalie Jonathan Bernier from the slot to make it 3-2.
Zadina answered for Detroit on the power play, scoring from the right circle with 23.8 seconds left in the period.
Hronek scored into an empty net with 1:52 left in the third, flinging the puck almost the full length of the ice and into the goal on the fly.
“You’re going to get into a night when the puck’s not going to go your way, but give them credit,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “They played hard and did a lot of really good things to kind of make those events take place.”
NOTES: The Red Wings recalled Zadina and D Dylan McIlrath from Grand Rapids of the AHL. … Detroit also acquired D Kyle Wood from the Carolina Hurricanes for D Oliwer Kaski in a swap of minor leaguers. … Detroit D Jonathan Ericsson played only 9:09, and Blashill said he’d likely miss the team’s next game. Blashill said he’s day to day. … The Red Wings outshot Winnipeg 34-28.
Jets: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.
Red Wings: At Montreal on Saturday night.