LOS ANGELES — The NHL-leading Boston Bruins followed their game plan of keeping Gustav Nyquist in front of them for more than two periods. When the puck got loose, and Nyquist got to it, though, one of the game’s best defenseman and goalies couldn’t stop the surging goal-scorer.
Nyquist broke a deadlock with 7:12 left in the third period on his only shot of the game, and the Detroit Red Wings held on to beat Boston 3-2 on Wednesday night.
“I didn’t think Gus had one of his best games by any means, but he scored a big goal,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Nyquist has a league-high 23 goals since Jan. 20 and a team-high 27 this season. He has given the Red Wings the breakout player they needed to boost their chances of extending their postseason streak to 23 seasons while missing many key players, including Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Bruins turned the puck over near Detroit’s blue line, paving the way for Nyquist to score. He raced up ice, skated around defenseman Zdeno Chara and ended his blurring sequence by scoring against Tuukka Rask.
The defending Eastern Conference champions outshot Detroit 11-4 in the first period and 14-7 in the second before seemingly playing less aggressively in the third when they went ahead.
The Kings clinched a playoff spot with a 4-0 win over the Coyotes, with Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar scoring power-play goals and Jonathan Quick making 17 saves in his sixth shutout of the season.
At Ottawa, Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist for the second straight night, helping the New York Islanders earn back-to-back victories with a 2-1 win over the Senators.
Bailey, playing in his 400th NHL game, scored a power-play goal in the first period, and assisted on Casey Cizikas’ winning goal midway through the third.