Gustav Nyquist was the hero for the Red Wings securing their points streak to ten games. The 26-year-old Swede helped Detroit beat the Nashville Predators 5-4 in overtime at Joe Louis Arena Saturday night.
Detroit tried to keep their points streak alive despite losing two players in the same game. Red Wings forwards Drew Miller and Teemu Pulkkinen took serious injuries that have them out for the next six to eight weeks. Despite the drop on the roster, Detroit had the right men to fill their spots and still be competitive. Their first game of two came against the Predators who have been able to hold the puck but have lacked scoring goals in the last six of eight games.
In the opening period, Nashville was on fire when it came to their power on offense but getting one behind Petr Mrazek was another story. A bouncing puck near the crease was swatted away by the Detroit netminder stopping the Predators best chance to take the lead. He later made a huge stop on Filip Forsberg who tried to put a backhander on the puck during their opening power play.
The lead on shots to the net belonged to Nashville as Detroit was still trying to get up to speed in order to answer them. Detroit gained a second power play in the final minutes where setting up a play in the defensive zone proved to be difficult. Though they failed to convert a goal, one came on the stick of Brad Richards who had been looking for his first as a Red Wing. A shot from the slot went off the pads of goaltender Pekka Rinne before ricocheting off the skate of Predators captain Shea Weber to notch one for Detroit. It was the Red Wings sixth shot as the period came to a close with them in control of the score.
It didn’t stay that way long in the second period as the Predators continued their power play from late in the first. On a faceoff in the Detroit end, the Nashville special teams moved quickly from the circle where Weber set up away from the Red Wings defense blasting a shot into the net for his sixth power play goal of the season and seventh overall.
They overtook Detroit with a second goal that Ryan Ellis fired away catching the stick of Viktor Arvidsson for his second. The two came just 1:50 apart causing concern on the bench of Detroit who found themselves struggling to catch up as they allowed four shots on Mrazek.
By the midway point of the game, the Red Wings powered their way into the lead during the second where they recorded their eighth shot on net. They kept it alive as the mission to even the game before the period closed was top priority. It got difficult as they allowed Nashville to return to the power play making the most of it.
In an almost mirrored image of Weber’s first goal, the Predators captain scored his second of the night on a drive that went in but wasn’t stopped by officials who waited for the NHL control room in Toronto to make the call. After more than 30 seconds of play, they awarded the goal giving Nashville a two-goal margin. Detroit went on their fourth power play of the game where things began to pave their way out.
With just 47 seconds left on the man advantage, the Red Wings managed to end their woes on a Mike Green drive from behind the faceoff dot that caught the stick of Tomas Tatar giving him ten goals on the year. The improvement on the board helped the Red Wings get their fans back into it right before the period ended.
When the third got underway, the two teams slowed it down a bit on the offense and fought hard to make something of their time on possession. As eight minutes went into the books, Detroit gave Nashville another chance to strike on the power play that was already hot on the night. It was quickly managed by Weber who scored a hat trick on a rifled shot giving them a 4-2 lead.
Detroit had enough of the Nashville captain owning them from any point on the ice and allowed Dylan Larkin to make a statement. He did so with a quick skate to the deep end of Rinne’s stick side shooting the puck into the net for his 11th of the season putting the Red Wings within a goal’s reach for a third time.
Detroit spent a large chunk of the period trying to even things up and keep their streak alive. Though they didn’t bring numerous shots on the puck, the Red Wings were hungry to get even before they ran out of chances. As they began to play on their fifth power play of the night, a shot from Nyquist inside the circle flew by Justin Abdelkader and got enough of him to give him credit for the goal and make it a 4-4 tie. The remaining 2:23 of regulation was in control by the Red Wings who played with the puck until the horn sounded.
Play went into 3 on 3 where both teams had dicey moments when it came to scoring chances. Right off the bat, Detroit took a scoring chance with Justin Abdelkader looking to score his second of the night. Nashville nearly ended the game on a bouncer that barely missed the net setting up Detroit for a chance.
It came on a breakaway by Nyquist who went in all alone on Rinne to shoot on the low side to end it for Detroit and gain his second of the night. “(Niklas) Kronwall made an amazing pass landing right on my tape and I was in alone and it was nice to see it go in for sure,” Nyquist said to Fox Sports Detroit’s Johnny Kane. “He set that play up and saved a three on one right before.”
Kronwall got his ninth assist on the play to gain a point after skating nearly 25 minutes on the ice. Like him, the Red Wings goaltender did plenty of work on ice to gain his eighth victory this year making 28 saves against the Predators for a .875 save percentage. With everyone doing work despite tremendous adversity, Detroit can go as far as their confidence lets them. “I feel like everything is working out,” Tatar said during interviews. “We all doing good habits, we battle for each other and we look like a really good team right now out there.”
The Red Wings till take the rest of Saturday night and get ready for a short road trip when they visit the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.