DETROIT – It wasn’t Henry Boucha fast, but it was just what the Red Wings needed to put a stop to an annoying losing skid.
Moments after he scored his NHL goal of the season in 17-seconds Thursday, Gustav Nyquist sat on the Red Wings’ bench shaking his head in obvious disbelief.
“There were some funny comments there. I thought it was fun to hear some guys making a joke about it,” Nyquist said. “Someone said that the game was easy so I thought that was pretty funny, that was probably the funny one.”
Nyquist added a goal on a third-period breakaway – which ended up being the game-winner – for his first career two-goal game, lifting the Red Wings to a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at Joe Louis Arena.
“It was an important game for us to win at home here today and in front of the home crowd,” Nyquist said. “I thought they were great and it was a lot of energy and I thought we played a real good game. I thought we put a lot of pucks on net and it was a well-deserved win.”
Nyquist’s first goal came on the game’s first shift. Carolina goalie Justin Peters made an initial save on a high-rising shot by Jonathan Ericsson as the defenseman floated into the slot. The play started courtesy of a Hurricanes’ turnover deep in their zone. Henrik Zetterberg picked off an outlet pass and swept it to Ericsson. But Peters was unable to secure the game’s first shot on goal as the puck bounced off his chest and rolled toward the right faceoff circle where Nyquist was perched for the rebound.
“It was a lucky bounce there,” Nyquist said, “but it for sure was nice to get a quick one so that felt great.”
Nyquist’s first goal was the fastest goal scored by the Red Wings this season, but fell 11-seconds short of the club’s record established by Boucha in 1973.
It was a case of Nyquist being in the right place at the right time. However, the Wings must now make a decision on the rookie’s future.
“He's obviously got skill, knows how to play and he can be an important guy going ahead,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “That's what I would have done if I was him. We'll see what happens. It's called money.”
Nyquist was called up Thursday after the club placed rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser (separated shoulder) on long-term injured reserve. The problem for the Wings is that they must remain salary cap compliant, and Nyquist – at least for one more game – gives the Wings the ability to move him to the minors.
The Wings’ cap issues first surfaced in training camp when they had too many forwards and not enough options. The club was forced to make a tough decision, and that, unfortunately, meant Nyquist had to start the season in Grand Rapids. Nyquist was the ideal candidate because of his contract situation and he was two NHL games shy of having to clear waivers in order to be moved down.
“We’ll see, we’ll see what happens here,” Nyquist said. “Obviously this is where I want to play and I want to be a part of this team and hopefully we’ll be able to work that out.”
Since the start of the season the Wings have had to put three veteran players – Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves – on waivers. All three cleared and are currently playing for the Griffins.
But with a lack of offensive recently, the Wings sure would benefit from Nyquist’s instincts.
“Well obviously he’s a big factor in this game,” said Zetterberg, who had three assists. “He comes in and score right away on the first shift, and you know he creates a lot of speed, a lot of energy and looks like he had confidence.”
SIX SWEDES: The Red Wings’ starting lineup Thursday looked like the Swedish national team, with six Swedish-born players on the ice, including backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who replaced Jimmy Howard, who was held out with flu-like symptoms.
Gustavsson was joined for the opening face-off by defensemen Ericsson and Kronwall, and the line combination of Johan Franzen, Zetterberg and Nyquist.
“That was kind of funny actually. I don’t know if that happens a lot with six guys from Sweden,” Gustavsson said. “I don’t know if it ever happened, but it was a lot of fun and something that I will always remember.”
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
|Back to top ↑|