- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Gustav Nyquist is making the most of his opportunity to play a lot for the injury-depleted Detroit Red Wings.

Nyquist had two goals and Jimmy Howard made 31 saves to help the Red Wings hold on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night.

The 24-year-old Nyquist has 19 goals in 43 games after he had a total of four goals in 40 games spread out over the previous two seasons in the league.

Entering the game against Toronto, he was tied with Boston’s Jarome Iginla with an NHL-high 12 goals since Jan. 20.

“I didn’t know that,” Nyquist said. “I’m just playing with some good players and I’m getting some good bounces.”

While Nyquist is being humble about his goal-scoring stretch, teammate Daniel Alfredsson raved about the fellow Swede.

“He’s really pesky on the forecheck and he’s making a lot of plays,” Alfredsson said. “His speed gives him chances that other players don’t get. The second goal was a perfect example.”

Early in the third period, Nyquist poked the puck off the boards to himself and charged up the ice early to flick a wrist shot from the right circle that beat James Reimers’ blocker.

That goal seemed to set the Red Wings up for the victory, but they still had work to do.

Jake Gardiner scored on a power play midway through the third to pull Toronto within a goal.

The Maple Leafs appeared to tie the game less than two minutes later, but Nazem Kardri’s goal was waved off because he made a kicking motion to knock the puck in with the inside of his right skate.

The Red Wings went ahead by two goals again with 2:33 left when Alfredsson’s wrist shot from the slot hit the back of the net on an odd-man rush that Gardiner lamented.

“I thought we were going to come back at the end, but we made a mistake,” Gardiner said.

The Maple Leafs pulled Reimer to add an extra skater seconds later and James van Riemsdyk scored with 1:13 left, but couldn’t get the puck past Howard again to extend the game past regulation.

“Not a lot of space out on the ice,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said.

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