From the opening face-off, the Wings were engaged, playing an abrasive style of hockey and refusing to wilt after the Jets scored two second-period goals to pull to within one, 3-2, after the Red Wings had stormed out to a 3-0 lead.
It was a total team effort for Detroit, which was finally rewarded with a little puck luck of its own as it capitalized on virtually every fortuitous bounce that fell its way.
Darren Helm, Robby Fabbri (two goals, one power play), Filip Zadina (power play) and Filip Hronek (empty net) scored for the Red Wings.
Kyle Connor, Shelby Township native and former Michigan star, tallied both goals for the Jets.
Jonathan Bernier (6-9-2) picked up the win in net for the Wings, stopping 26 of the 28 shots he faced for a .929 save percentage. Bernier also assisted on Hronek's empty netter, giving him three assists this season, which leads all NHL goalies in scoring.
Connor Hellebuyck (15-8-2) was in the Jets goal and took the loss. The Wings fired 33 shots at the Commerce Township native, who made 29 saves for an .879 save percentage.
The Red Wings will try to extend their winning ways to two games on Saturday night in Montreal as they lace them up against the Canadiens.
Detroit played perhaps its best game of the season the last time it played in Montreal, beating the Canadiens, 4-2, back on Nov. 10.
Winnipeg returns home to begin a three-game, five-day homestand, which begins on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
1. Robby Fabbri: There's no question that Fabbri has made the most of his new opportunity in Detroit. After the Wings traded defensive-minded center Jacob de la Rose to the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 6 for Fabbri, he has established himself as a dangerous scorer, something Detroit desperately needs. At 13:47 of the first period, with Blake Wheeler in the box for slashing Dylan Larkin, Fabbri's shot went off Jets defenseman Neal Pionk into the net. Zadina and Hronek assisted. It marked the Wings' first two-goal lead since Nov. 21, when they led the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-1, after two periods. Puck luck was with Fabbri again when he shot the puck at 3:35 of the second and it went off Pionk's stick past Hellebuyck. Zadina got the lone assist. Fabbri returned the favor to Zadina on Zadina's power-play goal at 19:36 of the second. It marked Fabbri's first three-point game since Dec. 28, 2016, when he was with the Blues. Fabbri now has 15 points (8-7-15) in his first 16 games with the Wings. He has six points (5-1-6) in his last five games. Fabbri finished with 23 shifts for 18:11, had four shots, three hits, one giveaway, was 1-for-1 in face-offs and was plus-1.
Quotable: "Those were some early Christmas gifts there. That's what it takes to win. It's not always going to be pretty. Playing hard, going to the dirty areas, that's what we did from start to finish tonight. It was nice to see from everyone. I'm competitive. I play tenacious. That's when I'm at my best, and when I'm not, I feel like I'm not as into the game. Sometimes, getting a few hits or in a little scrum like that, gets me in the game." - Fabbri
Quotable II: "I was always watching Fabbs playing in St. Louis and being aware of him through the same draft class. I know Bert's (Tyler Bertuzzi's) been buddies with him his whole career, so that's one guy that I've always paid a lot of attention to. I always think he's been a great player and I just think opportunity is everything in this league. He's getting that right now. He's a playmaker. He's someone that wants the puck on his stick. He plays a hard game. You saw it tonight. He was stirring the pot. I think he got under a lot of guys' skin over there, going after (Mark) Schiefele. It was all clean. It was all good. It gave him an edge. It was probably one of the most complete games that he's played. I look for him to continue that. Another guy that over time has gotten better here in his complete game and it's helped our team. It's been a big boost." - Larkin
Quotable III: "I'd say one, he's getting real good opportunity. That matters. He's come here and had a chance to have real good opportunity. I think two, he's capitalized on that opportunity. He's a smart player, he's good offensively. I think he's done a good job, whether it's playing with (Valtteri) Filppula or with Larkin, I think he's done a real good job. It's been a good acquisition for us." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Filip Zadina: Red Wings fans were a little disturbed when the Wings assigned Zadina to Grand Rapids on Wednesday, only to see him return Thursday. It was all part of roster maneuvering. But general manager Steve Yzerman had assured Zadina that he did not need to meet the Griffins, who are on a west coast trip. Zadina, who had looked more dangerous of late, found Fabbri heading toward the net for Fabbri's first goal with the man-advantage and then saw him again early in the second period. That assist was Zadina's fifth in five games. But Zadina has always been a goal scorer throughout his career and that was evident when the Wings had another power play late in the second. Hronek, whom Zadina stays with when he's in Detroit, delivered the puck to Zadina in the right circle and Zadina sniped one glove-side at 19:36. Fabbri got the second assist, returning the earlier favors. Zadina now has six points (1-5-6) in his last five games. It was Zadina's first career multi-point game in the NHL and he became the youngest Wings player to record a three-point game at 20 years, 15 days, since Yzerman had three points on April 7, 1985 at 19 years, 333 days. According to NHL Public Relations, Zadina is the third-youngest Detroit player since 1967-68 to register a three-point game, behind Yzerman (18 years, 226 days on Dec. 21, 1983) and Lane Lambert (19 years, 75 days on Feb. 1, 1984). Zadina finished with 18 shifts for 14:50, had four shots, one giveaway, one takeaway and was plus-2.
Quotable: "Obviously I need to use this opportunity that I'm getting right now, do my best and play good hockey. Right now it's more about the team than myself. We just need Detroit to get back where it used to be and right now we are in a tough spot but we won a game and we want to start from bottom and play better hockey for sure." - Zadina
Quotable II: "I think similar to the nine games he had here last year, I see him gaining more confidence as each game goes. He plays the game, he looks to move pucks. He's not looking to get it off his stick as soon as he can. He's trying to hold on to it, trying to make plays. You saw his shot tonight. He's a scorer. He gets to spots and he keeps the puck on his stick. I've seen him game by game get more confident and looking to hang on to the puck more." - Larkin
Quotable III: "He's been great. He's had plenty of chances, so it was nice for him to get that one tonight, and at such a crucial time as well. It's good for him. I'm excited to see him keep going." - Fabbri
Quotable IV: "What I like is his play away from the puck is better. Probably two, confidence and play away from the puck. His competitive level away from the puck is really, really good right now. He lost the puck in the first and fought like crazy to get it back. You can do way more things offensively if you get pucks back, meaning you can try to beat guys one on one, you can try to do those types of things because if you turn it over, you know you're going to fight to get it back and he's done a way better job of that." - Blashill
3. Darren Helm/Dylan Larkin: The Wings have been notoriously puck luck-free this season but Fabbri benefited from a couple of happy bounces on his goal and Helm was also a beneficiary. At 7:49 of the first, Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu lost the puck and then ran right into the linesman, preventing him from impeding Helm on a breakaway. Helm has not always been successful on his breakaways but he didn't miss, scoring his fifth goal of the season and giving the Wings a 1-0 lead. Helm finished with 17 shifts for 12:53, had one shot, one hit, two giveaways, one takeaway, was 2-for-2 in face-offs and was plus-1. He is now a team-best plus-4. Larkin did not skate Thursday morning but with his team in dire straits, enduring an 0-10-2 skid, there was no way he would miss the game. Larkin finished with 24 shifts for 20:36, most among forwards, a team-leading five shots, one hit, one giveaway, one takeaway, one blocked shot, was 11-of-15 in face-offs and was plus-1.
Quotable: "Plus-minus isn't the end-all, be-all stat, I get that there's a lot of people that are against it or whatever. I understand why, I get it. But when you're a plus and there's some mega minuses and the whole team's minus, that says something. It means you're doing something right. It means when you go out on the ice, the impact you have has to have some positivity. I just think Helm's done a real good job … he competes very, very hard every night, his energy has been very, very high every night. What I think he's done a good job of is managing his game. He's managed the puck better, he's got pucks in behind. At the end of the day, he cares a ton. He's an extremely competitive person. This has been hard on all of us for sure but he's a guy that just keep showing up and working like crazy." - Blashill
Quotable II: "My voice is gone. I wasn't feeling the best. I don't know if it was the cold air in Winnipeg or what. I haven't been feeling myself the past couple of days. I couldn't skate this morning. I just wanted to be out there with the guys, especially in the tough time that we had. I didn't want to leave them out there. I couldn't watch. I knew I was going the whole time. It was awesome to be out there for this win for us." - Larkin
Quotable III: "He played well every single game so it helped us a lot that he was here and he didn't quit. He was a huge part of the win today so we were glad to have him for sure." - Zadina
Quotable IV: "I think it says a lot about (Larkin). He was not feeling well at all and I texted with him this afternoon and he said, 'No, I'm planning on playing for sure.' I just think it says a lot about his character. He went out and I tried to manage his ice time early but as it went along, you could tell that he definitely had energy and I thought he looked real good." - Blashill