At least for one game, the chorus of Detroit Red Wings fans calling for Gustav Nyquist to be summoned from Grand Rapids to spark a team mired in a frustrating losing streak was proven correct.
Nyquist scored just 17 seconds into his first game with the big club this season, then added the game-winner as Detroit got past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena. Henrik Zetterberg chipped in with three assists for the Red Wings, who won on home ice for the first time since October 15.
It felt like Detroit’s uncanny string of games that went to overtime might continue after the Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit with two second period goals. That deadlock was broken after Carolina’s Riley Nash was called for hooking Nyquist, and Tim Gleason was called for slashing before his team touched the puck, giving the hosts a full two minutes of 5-on-3 time.
The Red Wings cashed in with 11:31 left in regulation when Niklas Kronwall‘s shot from the slot pinballed in behind Justin Peters. The goal was originally credited to Zetterberg, but changed to Kronwall after replays showed the Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal kicked it in.
Nyquist added his second of the game at the 15:58 mark, leaking out of the Detroit zone and taking a Zetterberg pass off the boards to beat Peters on a breakaway. It turned out that Detroit needed that to secure the two points, as Andrej Sekera scored his second goal with just 16 seconds left to trim the final margin to one.
Darren Helm scored the other Detroit goal, and Jonas Gustavsson made 24 saves to record the win. Carolina defenseman Brett Bellemore recorded his first NHL goal, while Canes goalie Peters kept his team in it despite being outshot 47-27 with 43 stops.
Still, the talking point for the end of the Red Wings’ seven-game overall and eight-game home losing streaks is going to be the performance of Nyquist, whose time in the minors doesn’t seem to have dulled his nose for the NHL game. Calmer voices among Detroit fandom have pointed out that he shouldn’t be viewed as a savior, but on Thursday, he sure played the part to a tee.
The game was over when:
It should have been when the Wings converted the two-man advantage (even though it took them nearly the whole time to do it), but the late short-hander made things unnecessarily interesting. So since everything is pointing to Nyquist anyway, we’ll have to say that it was his breakaway goal that sealed it.
The unsung Red Wings hero was:
All five remaining defenseman deserve some credit after Brian Lashoff left the game early due to the flu and did not return. But if one needs to be singled out, it should be Jonathan Ericsson, who looked unusually spry in jumping into the play offensively.