Detroit Red Wings wake up early in 3-1 win over Columbus Blue Jackets

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Dana Gauruder
·3 min read
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The Detroit Red Wings discovered some offense in an early burst and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri scored 29 seconds apart in the opening period and the Wings hung on for a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Wings generated just one goal during their slide, as the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators recorded shutouts against them and the Predators pounded them 7-1 on Thursday.

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Detroit Red Wings center Robby Fabbri (14) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 27, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit Red Wings center Robby Fabbri (14) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 27, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena.

Calvin Pickard got his first start in goal this season and notched his first NHL victory in over two seasons. He made 21 saves.

The Blue Jackets will stay in town for a Sunday matinee.

An unusually stellar start

The first period was one of the Wings’ best this season. They kept steady pressure on goalie Elvis Merzlikins and got rewarded.

The Wings squandered a 2-on-1 breakaway in the opening minutes when Dylan Larkin hit the side of the net with his shot.

Fortunately, that didn’t turn into an omen. Erne’s sixth goal came at the 8:29 mark, as he redirected Filip Hronek’s shot from the point. Danny DeKeyser was also credited with an assist.

Fabbri’s team-high 10th goal was set up by Larkin, who whistled a pass across the crease. Fabbri fired the puck into the net before Merzlikins had a chance to recover. Filip Zadina notched the second assist.

The Wings came up empty on two power-play opportunities during the period but kept the Blue Jackets scrambling. Detroit had 16 shots on goal during the first 20 minutes and another nine blocked by Columbus defenders.

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal (18) fight for position with in front of goaltender Calvin Pickard (31) in the first period on March 27, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal (18) fight for position with in front of goaltender Calvin Pickard (31) in the first period on March 27, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Pickard gets chance to shine

Thomas Greiss was pulled midway through the first period on Thursday after surrendering three goals. With Jonathan Bernier sidelined by a lower-body injury, coach Jeff Blashill turned to Pickard.

He only faced five shots on goal in the opening period. After Pickard made a nice glove save against Cam Atkinson eight minutes into the second period, Columbus got on the board at 11:43 of the period. Alexandre Texier made a wraparound pass to an uncovered Nick Foligno, who scored his sixth goal.

Pickard’s last victory came on Nov. 23, 2018, when he shut out the New York Rangers while playing for Philadelphia.

Mantha ends personal drought

Anthony Mantha scored his first goal in six games at 4:42 of the third period, giving the Wings a 3-1 lead.

Larkin served as the playmaker once again on Mantha’s ninth goal this season. Larkin dished the puck from the slot to Mantha in front for the tap-in.

Larkin’s two assists Saturday increased his season total to 12.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings wake up early in 3-1 win over Columbus Blue Jackets