Wings’ Nyquist ends drought, looks to finish strong
Toronto — Having returned Saturday from a six-game suspension, Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist was talking Tuesday morning about having a strong finish for the rest of his season.
Nyquist began that quest Tuesday, scoring both goals for the Red Wings in the 3-2 loss to Toronto.
The goals ended a 12-game goal-scoring drought for Nyquist, who has suffered through a disappointing season with only nine goals entering Wednesday’s game.
But Nyquist was thinking more about team success than his own after Tuesday’s game.
“As long as that helps helps the team, that’s the most important,” Nyquist said. “I don’t like talking about personal (accomplishments), the most important thing is if the team wins. If we get on a run here, it doesn’t matter if I score zero or however many goals, I just want the team to win.
“Whatever I can do to help out, that’s the most important thing.”
Defenseman Robbie Russo acquitted himself nicely Tuesday in his NHL debut.
Russo was paired most of the night with Xavier Ouellet — they played together often in Grand Rapids and played 15 minutes 44 seconds while being credited with one hit, one blocked shot and one giveaway (with an even plus-minus rating).
What Russo remembered most, though, was getting flattened by Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin.
“That kind of woke me up,” Russo said. “Martin buried me. From there, I was pretty comfortable.
“I was moving, getting up on guys, I thought I played pretty well. Everyone is moving out there and does their job (at the NHL level).”
Said coach Jeff Blashill: “Russo played good. He’s going to get more comfortable as he goes and he’ll continue to get better. He managed his game well.”
Blashill talked after the last two games about the need for some Red Wings players to produce more — both in terms of production and from a competitive standpoint.
“We need more out of more people,” Blashill said. “Production and competitiveness, I said this other night, it’s not just our young guys, it was more than that for sure. But (Henrik) Zetterberg’s line was our best line (Tuesday), we need other lines to step up and be the best line, so we just need to individually pick up our games a little bit and be a little better.
“It’s hard to be an elite player in the NHL and guys have to learn how to win, how hard you have to compete for every puck. It’s one thing to be a rush player and be a flash, it’s another thing to stop on pucks and compete and dig in and make sure that every single play matters.”