DETROIT – Gustav Nyquist will be in the lineup Saturday – and every game thereafter – when the Red Wings host the Ottawa Senators for the second time this season.
Nyquist, who made his season debut Thursday, is now on the Wings’ roster, permanently, general manager Ken Holland said.
“We’re going to put the best team we can on the ice every night and as we have decisions to make on the cap we’ll make them,” Holland said. “We’ve done it in the past. We put (Jordin) Tootoo and (Patrick) Eaves on waivers. With the injury to (Danny) DeKeyser it allowed us to bring up Gus. We know he’s an NHL player.”
Nyquist scored two goals on two shots in the Wings’ 4-3 win over Carolina on Thursday. The Swedish forward is a remarkable talent with slick offensive ability, which the Red Wings can use.
“With Nyquist here we’re slowly looking like we’re going to put four lines together,” Holland said. “Hopefully we can get some scoring up and down the lineup. We haven’t had that.”
Nyquist was leading the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in scoring at the time of his call up to Detroit on Thursday. He skated with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, adding speed and energy to the Wings’ second forward line.
“He’s the same, probably a little better at everything,” Franzen said. “He’s one of those guys who has his feet going and the puck keeps coming to him and he wants the puck all the time and he’s battling for it. He’s a really good player, fun to play with.”
But by all accounts Thursday, Nyquist didn’t appear to lose any chemistry with his Detroit teammates, especially Zetterberg, who helped set-up both goals by the rookie.
“Great opportunity for me,” Nyquist said. “Those two are world-class players. Z’s probably one of the best centermen or wings in the league. We had fun out there. They like to hold onto the puck, so you get to touch the puck a lot. They’re creative and it creates a lot of offense, so it’s definitely fun to play with those two guys.”
Once DeKeyser returns from his separated shoulder in 4-6 weeks, the Wings will then be forced to make a roster move to satisfy the salary cap. They won’t need to make any moves once Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss – both are recovering from groin injuries – return to the lineup. Neither player is likely to return for the games this weekend.
“Down the road,” Holland said, “we have to do something.”
QUICK STRIKE: Nyquist's first goal of the season, scored at 17-seconds of the first period, was the quickest scored by the Wings in nearly seven years. Nyquist’s goal was the fastest goal by a Red Wing to start a regular-season game since Dec. 27, 2006, when Kirk Maltby scored 16-seconds into the opening period against the Minnesota Wild.
The quickest goal scored in a regular-season game for the Red Wings was scored by Henry Boucha. A second-round draft pick in 1972, Boucha scored at the six-second mark to lead the Wings to a 4-2 win at the Montreal Forum on Jan. 28, 1973.
HOT SHOTS: The Red Wings fired a season-high 47 shots on goal in their 4-3 win over Carolina on Thursday. But what jumped off the stats sheet was that 40 percent of the shots (19-of-47) came from the five defensemen that finished the game.
Jakub Kindl and Niklas Kronwall tied with a game-high six shots against the Hurricanes. It was the first time this season that two Wings registered six or more shots in the same game. Kronwall also scored a goal Thursday.
On six occasions this season, the Red Wings have had a player register six or more shots in a game this season – Henrik Zetterberg (Oct. 14 at Boston, Nov. 9 vs. Tampa Bay); Daniel Alfredsson (Oct. 12 vs. Phoenix, Oct. 17 at Colorado); Johan Franzen (Oct. 26 vs. New York Rangers); and Drew Miller (Nov. 15 vs. Washington).
PAVEL SHOOTS: Despite posting his first minus-3 rating in nearly three years on Thursday, Pavel Datsyuk continues to dazzle. Though he leads the Wings with 11 goals, he is shooting more than he has in the last five seasons.
Datsyuk is second on the team with 70 shots on goal. He is averaging 3.04 per game, which is up from his accumulative 2.57 SOG average over the last five seasons.
Zetterberg leads the Red Wings with 85 shots – that’s 3.7 shots per game, which is slightly off his five-year average.
As a team, the Red Wings are averaging 30.6 shots, which is up from 30.1 last season.
SICK BAY: The flu bug apparently is making its way through the Red Wings’ locker room this week. Goalie Jimmy Howard was too ill to play Thursday, and while defenseman Brian Lashoff made a valiant effort to play against the Hurricanes, he managed only one period before also succumbing to illness.
“I was running on empty from the start,” said Lashoff, who logged 5:35 of ice time in seven shifts Thursday. “But I’m proud the guys won and were able to grind it out with five the rest of the way. I felt bad, I wanted to play the whole game, but I would have been more of a liability than anything.”
Lashoff should be ready for the weekend games against Ottawa on Saturday and at Buffalo on Sunday.
“I think it’s like a 24-hour thing and I just ended up getting it on the wrong 24-hours on a game day,” he said. “That’s just the way it is, but I feel a lot better now.”
HOSTING THE SENS: The Senators whipped up on the Red Wings in the first meeting of these new Atlantic Division rivals. Ottawa handed Detroit its worst defeat of the season in a 6-1 landslide on Oct. 23.
The Red Wings are seven points ahead of their new rivals in the division, and would like to extend the Senators’ losing streak to four straight after Saturday.
“They embarrassed us here last time they were here,” said Howard, who was lifted after allowing three goals on eight shots in the first meeting. “I think that’s in the back of everyone’s mind. We got to go out there and now that we got the one win under our belts everyone’s going to be able to breathe better out there and easier and I think you’re going to see a lot different team from here on out.”
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