Washington — If Gustav Nyquist ever has been on a similar goal-scoring streak, he wasn’t sure when it was.
But Nyquist will continue to enjoy this stretch while he can.
Nyquist’s three goals Sunday weren’t enough to prevent Detroit’s 6-5 overtime loss to Washington, but they continued a torrid streak of his own.
Nyquist has eight goals in his last seven games and has 13 for the season, trailing only Henrik Zetterberg (16) and Pavel Datsyuk (15).
“Pucks are finding me I guess,” said Nyquist, who started the season in Grand Rapids and didn’t arrive with the Red Wings until Nov. 21. “But when you look at a couple goals today, the passes Z (Zetterberg) makes, they’re pretty good passes. Obviously it helps to play with him, and Abby (Justin Abdelkader) does a great job for our line, always first on the forecheck and a big body who wins pucks for us.
“My linemates are a huge part of that (streak).”
Zetterberg’s passes led to two of Nyquist’s goals, twice finding him on the doorstep as Nyquist got himself open.
The two players seem to be developing a chemistry on the ice.
“He’s always been great, always created a lot of stuff,” Zetterberg said. “Now he’s putting up the points, too. He works hard and does a lot of good things and has the right mindset.”
Nyquist’s hot streak comes on the other end of a stretch where he had one goal over 18 games.
Coach Mike Babcock preached to Nyquist the importance of being in motion and getting to the net.
“I talked to coach a lot about moving my feet and using my speed instead of standing still, and shooting more,” Nyquist said. “(That) creates rebound opportunities.
“It’s good to have confidence out there. You create a lot more chances. You use your time better when you have the puck and make better players.”
So, will all this propel Nyquist this week onto the Swedish Olympic team?
With Johan Franzen (concussion) unavailable to play, an open spot has developed.
“I haven’t heard,” Nyquist said. “We’ll see.”
Up and down
You don’t see the Red Wings often getting into this type of run-and-gun, offensive-minded game like Sunday’s.
But Babcock didn’t mind it.
“I liked the fact we had guys score goals,” Babcock said. “I’ll it take it. To be honest with you, I like a tight checking game and it’s a better way for this team to win. But to help our psyches, scoring some goals doesn’t kill us.”
For goalie Jimmy Howard, this style of game took a bit getting used to.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been part of (game like that),” Howard said. “It was like an old-fashioned pond hockey game out there. Every once in a while, those games happen.
“We found a way to get a point, and our guys played well.”
Still no Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), who missed his 13th consecutive game. Hee last played in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
A question looming large is whether Datsyuk will be healthy to travel to his native Russia and play in the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Datsyuk is the Russian captain.
“I have no idea,” Babcock said of whether Datsyuk will play this week. “I just watch him in practice, one leg isn’t holding up. Pavel wants to play for his country and be part of things, but you have to be healthy.”
Can Datsyuk be ready for the Olympics?
“I’m not a doctor,” Babcock said. “I don’t have a clue.”
Nyquist’s first goal was the first for the Red Wings on the road since Jan. 11, spanning a little over three games and 194:14 of ice time.
… Cory Emmerton cleared waivers and was reassigned to Grand Rapids. Emmerton has two assists in 11 games this season with the Red Wings.
… Brian Lashoff was a scratch on defense, with Jakub Kindl in the lineup. Forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary were scratches.
… Capitals coach Adam Oates on Sunday’s victory: “A very exciting game, one of those nights where every shot seemed to go in. Not that you can fault the goalie, I really think it was one of those nights.”