May 7, 2013
Red Wings solve Hiller in OT to tie series 2-2
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg celebrates with goalie Jimmy Howard after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in over-time during Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinals hockey game in Detroit, Michigan May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

Damien Brunner was getting calls from his native Switzerland while all the while taking a ribbing from Detroit Red Wings teammates.

They were telling him he’d made the hockey highlights.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t what he wanted to hear.

He’ll probably get calls from Switzerland again Monday telling him he’ll make the highlights again.

Only this time, it’s going to be a good thing.

The Red Wings forward jammed in a rebound at 15:10 of overtime to give the Wings a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks Monday, tying their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal 2-2.


It was a terrific playoff game that needed a terrific ending and it got one. In fact, it was a fairytale ending for Brunner.

Two days earlier Brunner made a horrendous turnover in the third period that led to an Anaheim goal and the collapse of his hockey club. It led to a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

“I blame myself a lot. It was not the best night of my life. I didn’t sleep all night,” Brunner said. “But, you know, all the guys did a pretty good job getting my head up the next day, they were joking about it. So, obviously I'm pretty happy that it ended up like this.”

Brunner said he appreciated that everyone was trying to make him feel better.

“Smitty (Brendan Smith) said I was going to make the highlights and my friends in Switzerland called me and told me I should call the league to make sure I got that assist,” Brunner said. “It was the best for me though.”

He can laugh about it now.

“It feels pretty good when you score and the bench empties. I scored a series winner in Switzerland once but this obviously tops it,” Brunner said.

He scored after Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller stopped Gustav Nyquist on a breakaway. Brunner followed the play to the net and the puck was waiting for him.

The goal ended a game that featured more than 75 minutes of intense, tough hockey. There was hitting, great plays made that had the sellout crowd at Joe Louis roaring all game.

It featured playoff goaltending by both Hiller and Jimmy Howard.

It was a clear example of what a team looks like when it is playing desperate hockey.

The Red Wings played that role to perfection. They knew living for Anaheim down 3-1 wasn’t an option.

“We missed a great opportunity,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “Even though they outshot us and they had a good territorial edge, we had some Grade A chances when you have to put the puck in the net. These are Grade A chances you have to score on, if you want to win.

“(The Wings) played very good, very hard, very desperate. I don’t think quite frankly we had 20 players playing. We had some passengers.”

Corey Perry probably had the best chances to score for the Ducks but he still hasn’t found the back of the net in this series.

The Ducks held a 1-0 led on a goal first-period goal by Matt Beleskey until early in the second when a pinball shot from the point by Smith tied it up.

The final 10 games of the game were crazy as David Steckel gave the Ducks the lead again before Pavel Datsyuk worked some of his magic with a wicked wrist shot to tie the game.

Both teams had chances to win it in the final 10 minutes and the overtime but it was Brunner who has spent much of the night on the bench that gave the Wings another life.

“We used him more sparingly because other guys were heavier on the puck,” said Wings’ coach Mike Babcock. “He’s going to be a good Red Wing the more he learns how to do things the right way.”

Babcock likes where the series stands.

“It’s the best of three now,” he said. “The longer you can put this off, the better I like our chances. As low as we were the other night, we’re as high tonight.”

Maybe not quite as high as Brunner.

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