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Red Wings Firsts: Adam Almquist

Rookie defenseman scored his first NHL goal in his second career game

Wednesday, 06.11.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Red Wings Firsts: Adam Almquist
Rookie Adam Almquist shows off his first NHL goal puck. His second-period goal gace Detroit a 2-0 lead but Dallas stormed back to grab a 4-3 win in overtime on Nov. 7. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – In just his second career NHL game, Adam Almquist sported a smile that could be seen from miles away.

He had good reason to celebrate. The rookie defenseman had notched his first career NHL goal to give Detroit a 2-0 lead over Dallas on Nov. 7, 2013.

“I got a really, really good pass from (Henrik) Zetterberg,” Almquist said of his goal. “I walked into the slot and got it and shot it and luckily it went in.”

Unfortunately for Almquist, his accomplishment was achieved in a loss, as the Stars mounted a 4-3 comeback to hand the Red Wings their fourth straight loss at the Joe Louis Arena for the first time in four years. Almquist’s goal was a bright spot of the game, but there’s no doubt that he would’ve traded it for the W.

“I’m pretty sure he would exchange that for a win, but it’s fun to see him get rewarded,” Zetterberg said.

“That was (too bad) we couldn’t get the two points we wanted,” Almquist said. “It was a bitter end, bittersweet. We worked hard and deserved to win.”

The Wings recalled Almquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins on Nov. 4 after Brendan Smith sustained a slightly separated shoulder against the Edmonton Oilers. Almquist became Detroit’s third of nine prospects to make his NHL debut during the season, earning a minus-2 rating in a 4-2 loss at Winnipeg.

His first game at The Joe proved to be much more memorable.

“The first game is always the first game,” Almquist said. “I was a little bit nervous and stuff like that but I felt a little bit better tonight, a little bit more comfortable.”

Alongside teammates such as Zetterberg and Datsyuk, the defenseman understood the importance of watching and learning as much as he could from the veterans to continue his success.

“It’s always good to be around guys like that and I’m blessed to play here in this locker room right now,” Almquist said. “I try to do the best with it and I try to watch and learn from those guys.”

Although those two games would be the only two NHL contests Almquist appeared in last season, the defenseman’s willingness to work hard and compete with the league’s best didn’t go unnoticed.

“He’s a real good player with the puck and he’s a smart player without it,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But he’s not a big guy, so you’ve got to be way better positionally than everyone else, because you’re not going to win any battles. You’ve got to learn how to box out early and deflect early so you don’t get into strength contests out there. I didn’t think he was a problem.”

Almquist finished the regular season second on the Griffins in scoring with four goals and 49 assists.

Last week, Almquist indicated that he might return to Sweden rather than player another AHL season with the Griffins.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59