The Detroit Red Wings knew they were getting a talented forward when Damien Brunner joined the NHL from Switzerland this season, but few imagined he would be this good, this soon. It helps, of course, that Brunner is older than most NHL rookies (26) and skates alongside some of the league’s finer players, but the puck has been finding his stick quite often and he’s proven he knows exactly what to do when it does.
Brunner scored twice in Detroit’s 8-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks Sunday, his ninth and tenth goals of the season. With those tallies, the skilled center is now the Wings’ leading goal scorer and is quickly closing in on the game’s finest lamp lighters for the league lead.
The Red Wings are currently fifth place in the Western Conference, but haven’t even been in a playoff spot before Sunday’s win. Every point is so crucial in a shortened season like this, and with only 29 games to go, Detroit needs Brunner to keep finding the net as much as possible. He’s now got 16 points in all and hasn’t went any more than two straight games without a goal thus far.
Brunner’s sweet scoring touch is quickly making him a favorite among fans in Hockeytown. He continues to put himself in the right positions and makes smart decisions with the puck. I’ll admit I had doubts of Brunner’s ability to come in and contribute, at least immediately, but perhaps the most impressive part of it all is that he brings the same level of play to the rink game in and game out. He seems to be completely comfortable skating with his new teammates, and at this rate, he’ll be skating with them for years to come.
Not a whole lot has went right for the Detroit Red Wings this season, but at least they can say Brunner’s stellar play thus far has been a pleasant surprise.