Sprong scores go-ahead goal as Red Wings hold off Blue Jackets 5-4

DETROIT (AP) — Robby Fabbri always seems to bounce back from an injury-related absence. Unfortunately, the Detroit Red Wings forward has plenty of experience doing it.

Playing in his second game since a month-long absence due to a lower-body injury, Fabbri scored as the Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 Saturday, handing the Blue Jackets their fourth straight loss.

Over the course of his NHL career, Fabbri has battled back from four separate knee surgeries.

“It’s just a mental battle more than physical,” Fabbri said. “I’ve done it a few times, so I kind of know where to keep my mind at and then that helps me get my body ready.”

Lucas Raymond, Alex DeBrincat, Daniel Sprong and Jake Walman also scored for Detroit while Ville Husso made 17 saves.

Alex Texier, Adam Fantilli, Sean Kuraly and Patrik Laine had goals for Columbus. Spencer Martin stopped 23 shots for the Blue Jackets.

Trailing 3-2 late in the second period, DeBrincat converted a one-timer from the right face-off circle for his 10th of the season, but his first goal in eight games.

“The good thing Alex has been doing is he’s been getting looks,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “When a skilled and natural scorer like that keeps getting looks, it’s going to go in for him.”

Sprong’s fourth goal of the season put the Red Wings ahead for good at 18:19.

Walman pushed the lead to 5-3 early in the third period and the insurance was needed when Laine pulled Columbus within one on a power-play goal at 11:30.

Lalonde has been urging his team to go to the net and create havoc for the opposition netminder, and that tactic helped the Red Wings to shape their early lead.

“It was getting to the net, get in the goalie’s eyes,” Fabbri said. “That was an emphasis we had going into tonight, so being able to get a few dirty like that in a game where they were scoring as well definitely helped us.”

Raymond got Detroit on the board first at 3:41 of the first period when he tucked a wraparound behind Martin for his fifth goal of the season. Just 45 seconds later, Fabbri made it 2-0, slipping Christian Fischer’s pass from behind the net past Martin.

“That second goal to make it 2-0, what an identity goal,” Lalonde said. “Those guys forechecked, they hunted it.”

The Blue Jackets got on the board with their first shot of the game as Texier scored on a breakaway.

Fantilli swatted home a rebound for his third goal of the season to tie 2-2.

“We didn’t start on time and they got two quick goals,” Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski said. “We found a way to come back and get the lead, but we need to get better at playing with those leads.”

Columbus took the lead on a power-play goal by Kuraly 5:41 into the second period. Skating down the left wing, Kuraly snapped a high shot by Husso on his glove side.

“If you look at the NHL nowadays, a one-goal or even two-goal lead doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Columbus coach Pascal Vincent said. “You know you can come back or give it away. It’s a learning curve for us.”


Blue Jackets: Columbus is at the New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Red Wings: Detroit left for Sweden after the game. The Red Wings will meet the Ottawa Senators in the first game of the NHL Global Series in Stockholm on Thursday.


AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL