DETROIT – All goal scorers go through it – a scoring slump.
For Damien Brunner it’s the first one he’s had to endure in the last number of seasons, going 10 straight games without a goal.
“As a goal scorer you’re not happy when you’re not scoring,” Brunner said after practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. “But on the other side you can’t put yourself under too much pressure because the more you want it, you try to push it and it’s not going to work.
“I’ve got to keep doing the easy things, make the little plays and I’ll finally get a bounce,” Brunner added. “I’ll get a positive feeling soon and then get on a roll again.
“I’m not putting myself under any pressure saying ‘I have to score, I have to score’,” Brunner added. “It’s a short season and we’ve got to get wins. If we’re not winning and I don’t score then obviously it’s on me.”
Despite the goal-scoring drought, Brunner still leads the Wings with 10 goals.
“I hear lots of things, but I actually like what he’s done for us and I think he’s been excellent,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a guy that’s got 10 goals in the league. Who else has 10 goals on our team? That’s kind of the way I look at it. I think you get more rope when you score. I think he’s working real hard and I talked to him the other day. He knows that he’s going through it. Relax and keep playing hard.”
Despite not getting goals to go in, Brunner has four assists over the last 10 games.
“It’s just a confidence level you have on the ice that you just know you’re going to score,” Brunner said. “I think it’s the first time in four years that I haven’t scored in longer than five or six games in Switzerland.”
“It’s interesting to me, (Henrik Zetterberg) and (Pavel Datsyuk) haven’t scored in forever, and then they just scored and I think that’s what you go through at times,” Babcock said.
Brunner however is a minus-5 over his last five games. He was taken off the Wings’ top line last Saturday in Vancouver and replaced by Drew Miller midway through the game.
“I think probably a lot of it had to do with the matchup with the Sedins, they’re offensively pretty good,” Brunner said. “So they probably wanted to match better defensively and (Miller) is probably better than me so they wanted to do that. That’s the things I have to learn to get that spot and stay there in future. That’s OK with me. We got a big win so I’m happy for the team.”
The lack of goals being scored from Brunner isn’t because of his lack of shooting. He’s second on the team in shots on goal with 82. Henrik Zetterberg, who has eight goals this season, leads the team with 94 shots on goal.
“If you get no offense at all it’s going to be strange, but there are still some points out there,” Brunner said. “I think the goals are going to come again. I know they’re out there and I’ll get back on a roll again.
“I try and get a lot of pucks on net to create something,” Brunner continued. “I try not to over shoot it lately, just try and get a good feeling for the puck, go in the right areas and try not to push it too hard.”