Brunner’s shootout goal lifts Red Wings over Sharks
San Jose, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Damien Brunner hit the lone goal while reserve netminder Jonas Gustavsson parried three shots in the shootout as the Detroit Red Wings edged the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, Thursday at HP Pavilion.
Brunner beat Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi in the second round of the shootout while Gustavsson stopped Michal Handzus, Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe to help the Red Wings win three of their last four games for a 10-8-3 record.
Gustavsson, Detroit’s free-agent signee, had his first start in a Red Wings uniform after coach Mike Babcock rested Jimmy Howard after 18th consecutive start.
Babcock’s decision paid dividend as Gustavsson stopped 25 shots through overtime while Patrick Eaves scored his first goal of the year with assists from Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson for the Red Wings.
Logan Couture scored San Jose’s lone goal, beating Gustavsson early in the third period, while Niemi tallied 33 saves for the Sharks, who lost three of their last four games to slip to 9-6-4.
After two scoreless periods, Couture finally broke through with his eighth goal of the season at 4:49 of the third, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
Joe Thornton forced a turnover by Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader in the neutral zone, quickly moved to the high slot then zipped a pass to a wide-open Couture, who ripped one past Gustavsson.
Eaves answered just 92 seconds later to tie the game. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall unloaded a blast from the blue line that got past three Sharks, deflected off Eaves and went past Niemi into the net.
Kronwall, who entered the game with 16 points, the most by any NHL defenseman, earned his 15th assist of the season.
Jordin Tootoo and Jonathan Ericsson each had a great chance to put Detroit ahead late in regulation, but Niemi stopped Tootoo’s shot from the low slot, and Ericsson shot high from close range.