- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Gustav Nyquist is in impressive company.

The Detroit Red Wings forward has scored 23 goals in 28 games after having just 63 NHL games of experience.

“I don’t know how many players in the history of the game have done that,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

Not many: Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin and former NHL star Pavel Bure are the only two other players who have pulled off that feat since the 1989-90 season, according to STATS. Nyquist said the only thing that matters to him is helping the Red Wings make the playoffs.


Thanks to the Swede’s breakout performance after starting the season in the minors, the short-handed team has a good chance to extend its postseason streak to 23.

Nyquist was the last player the Red Wings cut from their NHL roster entering the season, sending him to play for the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins after he scored four times in 40 games the previous two years.

It didn’t seem like a big snub at the time.

Nyquist was caught in a numbers crunch on a team that couldn’t put Tomas Tatar on waivers and was counting on newcomers Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss to join returning forwards such as Mikael Samuelsson, Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary, Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves.

Nyquist got the relatively bad news last fall.

“They just said the facts that I was going down, play hard and you’ll get your chance,” Nyquist recalled earlier week. “I said I was going to be ready when I got a chance. And, it finally came.”

Nyquist has made the most of it, helping a banged-up and offensively challenged team stay competitive and recently surge into a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with six games left in its regular season.

He scored twice in his first NHL game this season on Nov. 21, a 4-3 win over Carolina.

Nyquist scored nine times in a nine-game stretch just before the Olympic break, earning a spot on Sweden’s team at the Sochi Games to replace injured Red Wings teammate Johan Franzen.

“The experience of playing with and against the best players in the world in Russia has only added to his confidence,” Holland said.

He had the game-winning goal in Wednesday night’s comeback win over the NHL-leading Boston Bruins, blowing past star defenseman Zdeno Chara after getting to a turnover near Detroit’s blue line and racing the puck up the ice.

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