Can Nyquist Seize Opportunity?

After being called up to the Detroit Red Wings, forward Gustav Nyquist was clearly the happiest he's been in his life.

"It's a huge day for me. Something I've been dreaming about since I was a little kid,'' Nyquist said. "I'm super excited to get the opportunity. They've given me a chance, and now I've got to show them I want to be up here.''

And all Wings fans want is to see that drive and hunger out on the ice tonight against the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena.

When Nyquist signed last season, I thought this was a player who could potentially fill a top line role, and here we are, only nine games into his AHL career, and he's playing his first NHL game already. With nine points in nine games, I guess the big league will notice that.

His speed and puck handling are superb, and the fact that he beat out Fabian Brunnstrom and Tomas Tatar for a shot to play is impressive in itself. Tatar was supposed to be next in line, but Nyquist is earning his dues.

Gus is slated to play on the second line tonight with Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi, a line which ripped teams apart in the preseason. He is also set to play on the second powerplay.

Mike Babcock scratched Jiri Hudler, who has struggled greatly as of late (not like it's anything new). Also sitting is Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore.

This sends a message to the rest of the team; produce or sit. Dan Cleary is off the top line and Tomas Holmstrom worked his way up with dogged determination in every game. The lines look great for tonight's tilt:

 

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom

Nyquist-Franzen-Bertuzzi

Cleary-Filppula-Abdelkader

Miller-Helm-Eaves

Lidstrom-White

Kronwall-Kindl

Ericsson-Stuart

Howard (starting)

Conklin

Notice that the defensive pairings were shaken up, probably to split up Ericsson and Kindl. If Detroit's losing streak doesn't stop tonight, there will be panic in Mo-Town. Hopefully with Nyquist in the lineup to provide a spark, the Wings will end it tonight at the JLA.

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Kyle Busch