COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Detroit Red Wings are stocked with great veterans. Yet it was a Swiss rookie and a kid playing his first NHL game who helped them avoid an 0-2 start.
Damien Brunner scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lead the Red Wings to a 4-3 victory over Columbus on Monday night before 19,206, the largest regular-season crowd at Nationwide Arena in the Blue Jackets’ 11-plus seasons.
“I felt good. I’ve been in a lot of shootouts in Switzerland for the National Team,” Brunner said. “So I just went in and tried to stay cool. Luckily, it went in.”
Brian Lashoff arrived just before the game and scored in his NHL debut and fellow defenseman Ian White also had a goal for Detroit, which finally ended a shutout streak of 81:11 that included a humiliating 6-0 loss in its opener on Saturday night in St. Louis.
“We got a great game out of Lashoff,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the late replacement for Johnathan Ericsson, who was injured in the game against the Blues. “I thought he was incredible. He was better here than he was in the American (Hockey) League (with Grand Rapids).”
It wasn’t all young kids, however. Wily perennial All-Star Pavel Datsyuk had a goal to send the game into overtime with 6 minutes remaining in regulation, and also had an assist.
The second contest of a compacted season was vital to the Red Wings.
“This was an important game tonight,” said goalie Jimmy Howard, who had 30 saves. “You don’t want to go down 0-2, especially in the shortened season. Two points are key. We got `em. Now we want to enjoy this on the flight home.”
Cam Atkinson, James Wisniewski and Vinny Prospal scored goals during regulation for Columbus, which was coming off a 3-2 shootout win at Nashville on Saturday night.
Down 2-0 at one point, the Blue Jackets pulled even at 2-2 on a power play. Wisniewski’s one-timer from just inside the blue line – a low, rising shot – beat Howard on the glove side.
They then took the lead on another man-advantage after Kyle Quincey was called for interference on R.J. Umberger – the Blue Jackets’ third consecutive power play in the third period.
Cycling the puck, the Blue Jackets’ Nikita Nikitin blasted a big one-timer that sailed over the cage and off the glass. It filtered all the way through congestion in front of the net. Prospal collected it at the right hash mark and scored.
The Red Wings weren’t done, however. As a power play was ending, Henrik Zetterberg dug the puck out of the corner and fed Niklas Kronwall, who faked and then fed Datsyuk who had crept in behind Sergei Bobrovsky and the rest of the Columbus defense to score easily with just over 6 minutes remaining.
Bobrovsky made 39 saves.
In the shootout, Atkinson opened with a goal for the Blue Jackets, but it was disallowed after a video review determined that he had shot the puck twice while jamming it into the net past Howard.
Neither team scored through three rounds. After Howard stopped Matt Calvert, Brunner made a sterling move to force the puck under the right leg pad of Bobrovski. It also was reviewed, but was confirmed.
“I went forehand, backhand and then dragged it back and went forehand,” Brunner said. “I did it a couple times in Switzerland. Normally, I get it (higher), but there was a little hole there.”
Goals by Lashoff and White made it 2-0 midway through the second period.
Just over a minute later, the Blue Jackets narrowed the gap back to a goal when Atkinson took a pass from Ryan Johansen and then slipped past defenseman Brendan Smith to beat Howard.
Columbus coach Todd Richards was pleased that his team had come back to force overtime after trailing.
“It’s great resiliency,” he said. “The negative is we’re putting ourselves down. But we battled back. Our goalie was great again. If he’s not good in the first period, we would have been in a real big hole.”
Notes: Detroit RW Todd Bertuzzi, thought to be suffering from mononucleosis, was diagnosed Monday with the flu. He did not play, but is listed as day to day. … The Blue Jackets came on the ice for warmups wearing jerseys numbered 1 with “Thank You Fans” printed where the player’s name is. The jerseys were then given to fans. … The Red Wings play their first home game Tuesday night against Dallas. … Five new players played their first home game for the Blue Jackets: Bobrovsky, Anisimov, LW Nick Foligno, D Adrian Aucoin and Dubinsky. … Detroit D Carlo Colaiacovo was injured in the second period and did not return. Babcock said it was unlikely he would play soon.
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