A natural goal-scorer throughout his career, Damien Brunner is confident the goals will come again. (David Guralnick/Detroit News)
Detroit — Damien Brunner leads the Red Wings in goals with 10, yet hasn't scored a goal in 10 games.
After a torrid start to his NHL career, Brunner has hit a cold patch.
A natural goal-scorer throughout his career, Brunner is confident the goals will come again.
"You're obviously not happy when you're not scoring," said Brunner after Tuesday's practice. "But on the other side, you can't put yourself under too much pressure. The more you want it (goals), you try to push it and it won't work.
"Just make the easy plays and you're finally going to get a bounce. I'm hoping to have a positive feeling soon and get going again."
Despite not scoring, Brunner has contributed with four assists and has played well defensively. His work effort on a couple plays during the recent Western Canada trip led to Red Wings goals.
"Points are out there," Brunner said. "The goals will come again. I have to work hard to get them."
Coach Mike Babcock hasn't had any issues with Brunner's performance, citing the versatile contributions.
"That's what you go through at times," Babcock said. "He's a guy, to me, he's done a lot of good things. I like what he's done for us. He's been excellent. He has 10 goals; who has had 10 goals on our team?
"You get more rope when you score goals. He's working hard and he knows what he's going through. Just relax, and keep playing hard."
In his first NHL season Brunner, 27, feels the adjustment to North American hockey has gone as he expected it would.
"You hear from friends (about the NHL) and watch the games, but it's different when you're on the ice and see it on your own," Brunner said. "It's (been) all positive since I've been here. I really enjoy playing here, and playing for the Red Wings is an honor."
Eaves escapes injury
Forward Patrick Eaves was hit in the jaw during Tuesday's practice after a puck deflected off his stick during a penalty-killing drill.
Eaves immediately skated off the ice and underwent tests later in the afternoon, which showed no fracture.
General manager Ken Holland said Eaves was sore, and his availability is day to day.
Eaves broke his jaw in November 2011 when he took a slapshot off the stick of Nashville's Roman Josi. Eaves suffered a concussion and missed the rest of the season.
After the lockout to start this season, Eaves returned in time for training camp and has played in 20 games.
Eaves wasn't the only player who dropped during Tuesday's practice.
Forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk left practice early, although Babcock said both were "fine."
Datsyuk has been fighting a bit of a flu bug. Zetterberg was running the Joe Louis Arena hallways as practice was ending.
Brendan Smith took a deflected puck near the head but finished practice.
Forward Mikael Samuelsson skated after practice and was stickhandling for the first time since suffering a broken left finger Feb. 19.
"Better, but not quite there yet," said Samuelsson, who can't play comfortably with a splint. "You want to have it (healed)."
Samuelsson, who has been limited to three games this season (started the season with a groin injury), is hoping to return within the next two weeks.