This past week, the Detroit Red Wings and their fans had plenty to be excited about.
The Wings had games against Toronto and Chicago, two Original Six teams, as well as a game against Eastern Conference powerhouse, Pittsburgh. They ended with a home-and-home against the Minnesota Wild.
Detroit opened this week with a game at the United Center against longtime rival, Chicago Blackhawks. The first period experienced a scoreless tie, with both goaltenders standing firm in net.
On the Blackhawks’ third powerplay of the game, Nick Leddy opened up the scoring for Chicago. However, Wings forward Gustav Nyquist answered to tie the game at 1-1. Ben Smith of Chicago scored with 18 seconds left in the period, giving Chicago the lead and momentum.
The third period was all Blackhawks, as they scored two more to put the Red Wings away. Blackhawk forward Marian Hossa finished with one goal and two assists.
Detroit returned home to Joe Louis Arena two days later to take on Eastern Conference foe Toronto. Once again, the first period saw a scoreless tie, as Jimmy Howard looked unstoppable in goal. The second period saw much of the same, until Gustav Nyquist opened up the scoring for Detroit. In the third, Nyquist followed up, scoring his second of the night, unassisted. Toronto, desperately trying to claw back, got an opportunity following a Kyle Quincey penalty and scored, making the game 2-1. The game was sealed for Detroit after a Daniel Alfredsson wristshot whizzed by Toronto’s goalie.
Detroit stayed at home to welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins, currently second in the Eastern Conference by a wide margin, were looking to damper Detroit’s playoff hopes. Alfredsson scored in the first period, and Nyquist tallied another for the Wings two minutes into the second period.
However, Pittsburgh responded by scoring three goals. Two came from sharpshooter Evgeni Malkin, in the last five minutes, giving Pittsburgh the 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
Then, in the third, Tomas Tatar and Todd Bertuzzi gave the Red Wings the lead again. However, Pittsburgh forward Craig Adams scored just over five minutes left, tying the game at four. After three, the Red Wings and Penguins were headed to overtime.
Gaining one point was not satisfying enough for Detroit. Despite the overtime period being evenly matched, the end of overtime saw the Red Wings with a three-on-one break. With the puck on Alfredsson’s stick, his shot snuck past Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with only one second left, giving the Red Wings a thrilling and dramatic overtime victory.
Detroit ended the week with a back-to-back, home-and-home series with the Minnesota Wild. In game one, Mikko Koivu of Minnesota and Brendan Smith of Detroit both scored power play goals for their respected teams.
Detroit forward David Legwand scored in the second, but Minnesota responded with a goal from Charlie Coyle 15 seconds into the third. But once again, Detroit’s Nyquist scored the game winner in the third, giving the Red Wings three-straight victories.
The second game saw Detroit get off to a quick start in the first, as Gustav Nyquist scored another two goals, giving the Wings’ a 2-0 lead. Minnesota finally got on the board with a goal from Jason Pominville in the second.
Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise scored within two minutes of each other in the third, and all of a sudden, Minnesota gained the lead. Tomas Tatar came to the rescue, scoring on Minnesota goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Red Wings found themselves in another overtime game, but this one had a different outcome. Minnesota forward Matt Moulson scored about halfway through the overtime, giving the Wild the 4-3 victory.
In five games, Detroit was able to grab seven points, coming from three regulation victories and one overtime loss. The Red Wings’ next game will be Tuesday, March 25 on the road against Columbus.
-Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson left the game against Toronto due to a broken finger. He is expected to miss at least two weeks, and the injury may require surgery.
-Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist was frequently mentioned for good reason. He was named NHL’s first star of the week, scoring seven goals and recording one assist, helping the Red Wings gain seven points that they desperately needed in order to make the playoffs.
-Detroit currently sits in seventh, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs with 80 points overall in the Eastern Conference.
Nathaniel Bott is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.