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Nyquist named NHL First Star of the week

The forward's seven points in four games has helped Wings into No. 1 wild-card spot

Monday, 03.24.2014 / 12:01 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Nyquist named NHL First Star of the week

Gustav Nyquist has scored seven goals in Detroit's last five games and leads the NHL with 18 goals in 23 games since Jan. 20. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT - The secret is out.

After leading the league with 18 goals in 23 games since Jan. 20 and recording seven points (6-1-7) in Detroit’s last four games, helping the club ascend into the No. 1 wild-card spot in the playoff standings, forward Gustav Nyquist earned top honors in the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week.

“I’ve been playing with great player so I’ve getting a lot of opportunities out there to shoot the puck in good areas and getting great passes,” Nyquist said following Detroit’s 3-2 overtime loss to Minnesota Sunday night, in which he netted two goals. “So that’s the reason behind it and obviously I’m getting good deflections too. I’ve had some good bounces for some goals, so that’s fun to see.”

The forward leads the Red Wings with 23 goals, tying his single-season total at any level that was set during the 2012-13 season in Grand Rapids. Nyquist has earned at least one goal in each of Detroit’s last five games, and the Wings are 14-1-3 when the 24-year-old has found the back of the net this season.

“He’s scoring goals, that’s great for our team,” said linemate Tomas Tatar. “I hope he will just continue. We have lots of injuries, we need goals, it’s nice to see Gus finding the way to the net.”

With injuries to top players captain Henrik Zetterberg and center Pavel Datsyuk, Nyquist has taken advantage of every opportunity to score during the last quarter of the season. Before Feb. 26, the forward averaged just 2.55 shots per game, but in the 13 games since then, has averaged 3.23 shots per game.

Nyquist’s continual contributions have helped keep an injury-ridden Wings team in the playoff hunt, a welcoming sight for a player who didn’t make the club’s roster at the beginning of the season. The Halmstad, Sweden native was a victim of Detroit’s salary cap in September, and played for the team’s minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids until he was recalled on Nov. 21.

Nyquist didn’t waste any time proving he deserved a permanent spot on the Wings’ roster, scoring his first goal just 17 seconds into his NHL season debut. But the forward knows a lot of his success must be credited to his development within the Griffins’ system in the American Hockey League.

“You can learn a lot from that, the way we played down there,” Nyquist said. “We play the way we do up here and it’s a great league to develop in and to learn the pro game. You play just as many games, getting your body used to that. It’s a good league.”

Although Nyquist has applied much of what he learned in Grand Rapids to his NHL game, the forward strives to continue sharpening his skills every time he steps on the ice.

“I just think that’s something that you try to develop every day, just by working hard in practice and improve on the small things,” Nyquist said.

In the past week, Nyquist has helped Detroit earn seven out of eight points in four games with victories over Toronto, Pittsburgh and Minnesota, and an overtime loss to the Wild. The Wings now sit in the No. 1 wild-card spot ahead of Toronto and Columbus with 80 points.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla were named second and third stars, respectively.

Follow Andrea Nelson on Twitter @Nelson_Andrea

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89