DETROIT >> Gustav Nyquist scored some timely goals for the Detroit Red Wings last season.
He was back at it Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Nyquist scored the Wings’ lone power play goal on four chances to lead them over the Boston Bruins, 2-1.
“That obviously feels real nice for the power play,” Nyquist said. “I thought (the power play) was OK tonight. I thought we could have done some things better but we still got some chances, I think. I think it worked a little better than it had in the preseason.”
The goal also helped get a power play going that limped along on its first two chances of the game.
On each of their first two man advantages, the Wings cleared the puck out of Boston’s zone with passes back to the point where no one was at.
“I think we’re getting a little more on the inside right now,” said Nyquist, who had 28 goals in 57 regular season games last year. “I thought our breakouts didn’t really work the way we wanted, but that’s something we can improve. But in zone, we’re getting a lot of bodies in front and I think that’s where we’re going to score a lot of goals so I like that.”
Nyquist had no goals over his last 11 games, including playoffs. His lost goal came on April 2, coincidently against the Bruins.
“No surprise,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said when asked about Nyquist’s ability to score big time goals. “He’s a great player. He’s a hard worker in practice. He stays after and works on his game. It’s not surprise. He’s got that knack, nose for the net. He’s always in the right place at the right time.”
But back to the Wings’ new and improved power play.
“Our breakout was so bad early we couldn’t get into the zone,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had no deception, so we talked about deception. Go back to our power play goal, (Niklas Kronwall) did a real good job of bring it up one side, looking everybody off and then going to (Henrik) Zetterberg who had easy access.”
Detroit’s power play began last season going 0-for-10 through four games.
“We weren’t getting any control (on the power play),” Babcock said. “When you think about their power play, except the four on three, they didn’t have a ton of control. That’s what good penalty kill teams do, they make you chase it around the whole time and they keep you on the wall. So we were finally able to make a play.”
The Wings’ penalty kill, which was stellar in the preseason, was 4-for-4.
The last kill was late in the third period as Detroit clung to a one-goal lead after Johan Franzen was sent off for elbowing. The Bruins pulled their goalie to make it a 6-on-4 advantage. And then Luke Glendening lost his stick early in the two-minute infraction.
“I’m pretty confident in the penalty kill, so I thought let’s just kill it off,” Babcock said. “We came out for the third like a young group, I didn’t think we were as assertive as we should have been, so having the penalty kill, you can be really aggressive. The part that really hurt us was when Glenny lost his stick and then broke his stick.”