It was no longer than just two weeks ago that the Detroit Red Wings were on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture looking in. Their league best 22 straight playoff appearances were in danger of finally coming to an end. That is, until Gustav Nyquist decided to take matters into his own hands and suddenly propel the Red Wings back into postseason contention.
Nyquist managed to score his sixth game winning goal of the season during a come from behind victory for the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena against the first place Boston Bruins on Tuesday. He is playing on a level that no other player in the NHL is even close to at the moment, and continues to be relied on by his teammates on what seems to be at least every other night, if not more.
The Red Wings have gone a solid 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, a string of games that coincides with Nyquist’s current 10 game point streak. The forward has racked up 14 points over the past two weeks, and is clearly the backbone of a Red Wings club that would otherwise undoubtedly be out of playoff contention if it weren’t for Nyquist.
What also makes Nyquist such an important part of this hockey club is his ability to be a two-way player. When Nyquist is on the ice, the Red Wings score, and the same can’t be said for their opponents. Nyquist is plus 14 on the season and has a total of 46 points in 51 games this season. He is constantly making an impact on a lineup that has been decimated by injuries. The difference has been Nyquist.
Although the Red Wings now find themselves poised to make their 23rd NHL playoff appearance in a row, one should find it hard pressed to proclaim that the good fortune is due to a complete team effort. Nyquist has clearly carried his team up the Eastern Conference standings, despite a number of important players who have either been injured or who have just flat out underachieved.
Whether the Red Wings make it far in the Stanley Cup playoffs or not, the entire organization needs to figure out a way to show their appreciation for a player who has brought them to a point where they would otherwise not deserve to be. If the Red Wings play their cards right, Nyquist should be in for quite the pay day come late spring.