So that’s what the Red Wings needed? A shot of Nyquist?
Gustav Nyquist, making his season debut, wasted no time making his mark on the game, scoring 17 seconds into it, then added a breakaway goal late in the third period that ended up being the game-winner, and the Red Wings finally skated off the ice with two points in their back pockets, beating the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3 at JLA.
It wasn’t easy. Breaking a seven-game losing streak (and eight straight at home) never is.
Nyquist banged home a rebound on the game’s first shift, and even when Darren Helm gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead about five minutes into the second period, you knew that there was going to be hand-wringing before the night was through.
Sure enough, the Canes scored twice in the second period to tie the game. It was looking like so many games in the losing streak: early promise, late heartbreak.
A two-minute 5-on-3 power play seven minutes into the third period provided the Red Wings with a chance to go ahead, and even though it took them 1:45, Niklas Kronwall was credited with a goal when Jordan Staal accidentally kicked Kronwall’s rebound a puck’s width past the goal line. 3-2 Detroit.
Then the Swede Nyquist, blocked from the Red Wings out of training camp because of depth and salary cap concerns, squirted loose at center ice, took a deft pass from Henrik Zetterberg off the boards, skated in alone on Carolina goalie Justin Peters and deked into a backhand, slipping the puck between Peters’ pads for a 4-2 lead. The goal came at 15:58.
Even with a power play and a two-goal lead with less than a minute to play, the Red Wings still managed to give the crowd a scare.
Andrej Sekera scored a shortie with 16 seconds to play, his second goal of the game.
But the Hurricanes couldn’t get set up in the Detroit zone after the ensuing face-off, and the Red Wings (10-6-7) survived.
Nyquist, if he plays one more game, cannot be sent back to Grand Rapids unless he clears waivers, which is highly unlikely. He’s got a scorer’s knack of being around the puck and depositing said puck into the net, and other NHL teams know that. So it looks like Nyquist is with the Red Wings to stay.
Nyquist was called up due to the placing on long-term IR of D Danny DeKeyser with a separated shoulder, which freed up cap space. DeKeyser is expected to miss 3-6 weeks.
Nyquist skated on a new no. 1 line with Zetterberg and Danny Cleary, as coach Mike Babcock split up Z and Pavel Datsyuk.
The Red Wings fired 47 shots at Peters, and even though they blew a 2-0 lead, they never lost composure nor did they cough the puck up very much, even when the Canes pressed after falling behind 3-2.
BOTTOM LINE: It was amazing how much the insertion of one different player (Nyquist) made the Red Wings look more confident and more crisp.
THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: Jonas Gustavsson started in goal for Detroit, and was quite competent, as he’s been whenever he’s seen spot duty this season. He found himself out of position on Sekera’s second goal, but for the most part Gustavsson was sharp. Babcock shuffled his lines like a deck of cards, and for one night, he drew mostly aces.