Everyone expects the veterans of the Detroit Red Wings to make contributions during games.
Last night, it was a pair of rookies who made key contributions to help the Red Wings defeat a feisty Columbus Blue Jackets team 4-3 in a shootout, with Damien Brunner scoring the lone goal in the shootout.
It didn't take long for things to get rowdy. Right off the drop of the puck, Jordin Tootoo and Jackets' winger Jared Boll dropped the gloves and fought each other at center ice.
The fight injected some life into the Red Wings, as the were able to get more shots on goal in the first period, despite not being able to get one past Jackets' netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. In fact, the Wings nearly equaled their shot total from their previous game (14) in the first 20 minutes as they outshot Columbus 13-5 in the first period.
It took only 1:10 to get on the board in the second as rookie defenseman Brian Lashoff scored the first goal of the Red Wings' season. Lashoff was playing in his first NHL game, as he was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL to fill in for the injured Jonathan Ericsson.
"We got a great game out of Lashoff," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought he was incredible. He was better here than he was in the American (Hockey) League (with Grand Rapids)."
Fellow defenseman Ian White made it 2-0 at 14:06 of the second as he beat Bobrovsky off of a missed shot by Johan Franzen.
The Jackets refused to be ran out of their own building, as Cam Atkinson beat Jimmy Howard on a breakaway at 15:20. They would get power play goals in the third from James Wisniewski at 3:24 and Vinny Prospal at 8:43.
Pavel Datsyuk would take matters into his own hands when he took a pass from Niklas Kronwall and snapped the puck past Bobrovsky at 13:56 to tie the game.
After the rest of regulation and overtime went scoreless, the game went to a shootout. Atkinson thought he had beaten Howard in the first round, but a video review determined that Howard had stopped the puck before Atkinson tried to push it past, thereby disallowing the goal.
Neither team scored through the first three rounds. After Howard denied Matt Calvert, Brunner made a dazzling move to slip the puck under Bobrovsky's right leg pad for the win.
“I tried a couple of shootouts back in Switzerland,” Brunner said. “I tried to stay cool and just make a move and it went in.”
Howard made 30 saves to earn the win.
"This was an important game tonight," Howard said. "You don't want to go down 0-2, especially in the shortened season. Two points are key. We got 'em."
The Wings tripled their shot total from Saturday's game, as they outshot the Jackets 42-33.
NOTES: Red Wings defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo injured his shoulder in the second period and did not return. He will likely be out for a few weeks.
- DET Pavel Datsyuk (Goal, Assist)
- CBJ Sergei Bobrovsky (L, 39 saves, .929 save percentage)
- CBJ James Wisniewski (PP goal)