Gustav Nyquist showed why he is the best player to put in a clutch moment. The 25 year old came in for Detroit in the third round to seal the victory for the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 comeback win over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday night. After a rough first period, Detroit overcame a 4-1 deficit to continue a three game winning streak. Petr Mrazek made 21 saves in his second start that was ultimately a win most deserved.
The Red Wings looked as healthy as ever coming into their road trip against New Jersey on Black Friday where everyone runs all over the place. Detroit surely hasn’t in their in past two games with Stephen Weiss and Pavel Datsyuk coming up strong playing the key roles that others have had to play. Mrazek got the nod for his start to take on the Devils who have lost their last four of five.
New Jersey came out in the first period to prove a point as Jaromir Jagr scored two minutes into the first period that began with a stretch pass from Damon Severson ended with the Czech superstar got in front of the crease to put it in behind Mrazek. The Red Wings didn’t stay down for long as Detroit took advantage of a 5 on 3 to give Niklas Kronwall a shot from center that was tipped in by Riley Sheahan to give him five on the year and tie the game.
The power play would work out for the Devils as they took back the lead on Michael Cammalleri’s scoring chance that after coming around from the back of the net sent the puck high on the slot for his ninth goal. Peter Harrold made it 3-1 getting a head start against the Detroit defense to score one behind Mrazek for his first of the season. The Devils clearly had better chances on the net than Detroit had going against Cory Schneider.
28 seconds into the next period, Cammalleri notched his second of the night scoring from the side of the net gaining a three goal margin on the Red Wings. The Wings had enough of being run off the road giving Xavier Ouelett an opportunity to fight back. He scored his first NHL goal with Helm on the assist cut the lead in half. The Detroit power play came up big again midway into the period where Justin Abdelkader picked up his seventh with Captain Henrik Zetterberg in front for the screen to make it a one goal game. The Red Wings concluded with a stronger second period as they outshot the Devils 17-6 with one more to play.
Detroit fought tooth and nail in the third as they had to battle off New Jersey’s moments with the puck possession firing shots on Mrazek who still fought hard to no longer allow any more goals. He began to show stellar goaltending which led to the Red Wings offense picking it up. They evened the game at four goals each on Drew Miller’s shot that gave him his first of the season on a Kronwall rebound to make their efforts successful. “[Tomas] Jurco made a great play to Kronwall, and he went to the net, and when you’re not scoring, you have to sit around the net and wait for those rebounds,” Miller said. “So I found a rebound, and it went in.” “It feels great, and I’m happy to get a big goal for the team,” he said. Regulation ended with the Detroit defense dominating in the final minutes to push it into extra time.
It would require more work from both teams as the Red Wings took a pair of shots at the net but were unable to score the game winner in the five minute period. It went into a shootout and Detroit would need a better showing as their overtime record is not on the plus side. Two rounds into the shootout, both Mrazek and Schneider weren’t giving the game winner up. Nyquist was third up and his attempt was a glorious goal that could only be done by few. It left Devils right winger Michael Ryder as their only hope to continue the shootout but his attempts faltered giving Detroit the win in a fight back that was much earned by the team.
“It was a rough start; we didn’t take care of the puck, didn’t cut people off and they won the battles in front,” Nyquist said. “We found a way to battle back. We had a real strong second and really came at them.” Mrazek definitely bounce to his second win by stopping some of his Czech countryman from scoring on him. “This was a big character win for us,” Nyquist said. “I thought Mrazek really hung in there when he got down early. He was great when he needed to be late in the game, and then in the shootout he was solid.”
“It was my first (NHL) shootout, and I was very excited for it,” Mrazek said. “I was watching these guys on video a little bit on how they shoot, and that was helpful. But it’s still tough.” Detroit gets to go back home to end out the Thanksgiving weekend by hosting the Vancouver Canucks in a early showdown that might challenge them as much as the quick flight did.