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Blues' Fabbri making immediate impact

St. Louis rookie already filling key role on line with veterans Brouwer, Stastny

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- He may be a rookie, but St. Louis Blues left wing Robby Fabbri has made his mark on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Fabbri, selected by the Blues in the first round (No. 21) of the 2014 NHL Draft, not only adapted well but played a significant role in the Western Conference First Round series win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Fabbri had a goal and four assists in seven games and was fourth on the team in scoring in the series. He set up Troy Brouwer for the game-winning goal in the third period of the 3-2 Game 7 victory Monday, when he initially checked Chicago defenseman Erik Gustafsson off the puck, then got in position to collect center Paul Stastny's pass before slotting the puck to Brouwer.

"I thought Robby was one of our best players in the series," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He was outstanding, he was a threat, a dangerous player. So competitive offensively, great patience. He's really emerged as a top offensive player now.

"Any time you can gain Game 7 experience, it's like gold."

Video: CHI@STL, Gm5: Fabbri dekes past defenders, scores

Fabbri was set up to gain this type of experience by making his mark at the start of the regular season. He finished his first NHL season with 18 goals and 19 assists in 72 games, though he was initially sidetracked by a concussion that cost him six games.

But the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Fabbri helped form the top scoring line for the Blues down the stretch with Brouwer and Stastny.

"I've grown a lot," Fabbri said. "You see it in all the games, we're a lot more comfortable and confident. All that goes to the guys staying behind us and coaches making us better. We're just trying to have a lot of fun with this."

Fabbri had 11 points in the final 14 games of the regular season, and it was no coincidence Stastny (19 points in the final 15 games) and Brouwer (14 points in the final 15 games) benefited from having the talented winger with them on a line.

"He's very skilled and a smart player," Brouwer said. "He's able to create things out of tight spaces and he doesn't get rattled in tight spaces out there. His patience allows him to make plays, and I think the three of us feed off what each can bring to the table."

Fabbri said he learned a lot playing alongside veterans like Brouwer and Stastny, and successfully made the adjustment from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, where Fabbri played center.

Brouwer has been especially helpful in a leadership role.

"He's been a great guy, not only with the team but with myself all year," Fabbri said. "I've played with him a lot of the year and back with him in playoffs now. Everywhere he's played, he's been a veteran guy. He's gone deep. To bring that into a room has helped us out a lot."

And now that he has experienced a Game 7 atmosphere, Fabbri can only grow into making a bigger impact that could give him the same kind of notoriety Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen, David Backes and Jaden Schwartz garner.

"It was awesome. It was tons of fun," Fabbri said. "The crowd was into it, we were into it. It's something I grew up watching. You stay up late watching Game 7s, and to be a part of it is pretty special."

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