Brunner Scores Shootout Winner for Red Wings in Columbus

Playing in only his second career NHL game, Damien Brunner was the hero for the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night, scoring in the fourth round of the shootout to lift Detroit past the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Brunner faked out Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, dragging the puck to his left to jam it between the post and Bobrovsky’s outstretched pad for the only goal of the shootout.

Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg failed to score for Detroit earlier in the shootout. Cam Atkinson, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Matt Calvert were held off by Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, though Atkinson appeared to score before video review showed that he took two shots by knocking in a rebound chance.

After a scoreless first period, Red Wings’ defenseman Brian Lashoff, making his first NHL appearance in place of the injured Jonathan Ericsson, opened the game’s scoring at 1:10 of the second. After Mikael Samuelsson‘s one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle was blocked, Samuelsson got the rebound and sent it to Lashoff at the blue line for a blast that found its way through a Johan Franzen screen and past Bobrovsky.

Detroit’s defense contributed again to make it 2-0 with 5:54 left in the period. Franzen lugged the puck through the left circle and drew a group of defenders to him before sending it across to Ian White in the right circle for a shot over Bobrovsky and under the bar, into the top of the net.

The Blue Jackets began their rally 1:14 later. Atkinson split Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith after taking a pass from Johansen, breaking in alone to beat Howard.

At 3:24 of the third period, James Wisniewski fired a blast from the blue line with the Blue Jackets on a power play to tie things up.

Vinny Prospal put Columbus out in front with another power play goal at 8:43 of the third. Nikita Nikitin’s shot from up high bounced off the glass behind the net and came back out front. With Howard spun around, Prospal put home the rebound from the slot to make it 3-2.

Datsyuk made it 3-3 with 6:04 left in regulation, just as a Detroit power play expired. Niklas Kronwall got the puck all alone in the slot and raced down the middle. His delay drew everyone to him, leaving Datsyuk wide open at the side of the net to take a pass and knock the puck home.

Because that goal came just seconds late, the Red Wings finished the night scoreless on seven power play tries. Columbus had two goals on seven attempts with the extra attacker.

Howard made 30 saves on 33 Columbus shots on the night to earn his first win of the season. Bobrovsky stopped 39 of the Red Wings’ 42 chances.

The Red Wings are right back in it on Tuesday when the host the Dallas Stars in their home opener.


In addition to Ericsson, Detroit was without forwards Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm and Jan Mursak, backup netminder Jonas Gustavsson, and defenseman Jakub Kindl. They also lost defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to injury in the third period… Forward Patrick Eaves made his first appearance in 14 months, returning from post-concussion syndrome to take Mursak’s spot in the lineup… New Red Wing Jordin Tootoo fought Jared Boll off the opening faceoff.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blue Jackets – 1/21

Well I’ll be damned if that wasn’t an exciting finish. Let’s take a step back, though.

With the Red Wings up by two and dominating in the second period, that game never should have made it to the shootout. The Wings got sloppy (again) and Columbus made them pay.

The Jackets’ first goal never should have happened. Once again, the Kyle QuinceyBrendan Smith pairing got split and let someone in behind them, and Jimmy Howard got burned on the breakaway. If we can count on that happening once a game, it won’t be a good season.

And, of course, the injuries keep piling up. Carlo Colaiacovo is expected to miss weeks after being hit hard into the boards in the third period. If Jonathan Ericsson can’t go tomorrow, the Wings only have three signed defensemen in their system. Adam Almquist, Max Nicastro and Gleason Fournier. Almquist has at least spent the whole season in GR, as opposed to Nicastro and Fournier who have spent time in Toledo, but Almquist looks terrified of contact at the AHL level. Not ready for the NHL.

On the plus side, Brian Lashoff steps into a hole on the blue line to make his NHL debut and scores. He may have been the second or third best defenseman on the ice for the Wings tonight. Hell of a job by him.

Also great to see Johan Franzen looking like he cares. Great individual effort carrying the puck on the play to set up Ian White for the second goal, playing like the big man he is. And I mentioned it at the time but I love his defensive effort late in the OT, lying down to block a clearing attempt.

I also said this at the time, but I thought for certain I’d be bitching about Niklas Kronwall not shooting when he had the chance on the play that led to the tying goal. Great patience to see and get the puck to Datsyuk.

And, of course, Damien Brunner. Highlight-reel shootout game-winner in his second NHL game. Video will be going on the site shortly.

So not a perfect game by any means but the effort and the outcome were needed after the debacle in St. Louis on Saturday.