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Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist showing no signs of slowing down

10/17/2014 03:40 EDT | Updated 12/17/2014 05:59 EST
TORONTO - When Gustav Nyquist was tearing up the NHL with a stretch of 23 goals in 34 games last season, he didn't think much. He just scored a lot.

"It felt like the puck was going in when I shot it," Nyquist said.

Nyquist had the league's fourth-best shooting percentage at 18.3, and his scoring pace was so torrid his last name might as well be Swedish for unsustainable. The Detroit Red Wings forward hasn't shown any signs of slowing down this season, with three goals in his first three games.

"He's scored everywhere he's been, but he's scored points, not goals," coach Mike Babcock said Friday at Air Canada Centre. "He's got a good shot, he's got a unique hockey sense and obviously he's got some confidence. There's lots of players that come in this league and it takes a long time to get confidence. He arrived a little bit older and a little bit more established, and so he's got his confidence quicker."

With his power-play goal Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins, Nyquist got to 35 goals in his first 100 games, a plateau reached in the past five years by only two other players: Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers and Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Nyquist, whose three goals have come on eight shots, isn't eager to talk about his success. He credits getting major opportunities last season for the injury-plagued Red Wings and his linemates.

"I think the more games you play, the more confident you get out there," said Nyquist. "I've been playing with great players, as well, so I think that has a lot to do with it."

The Maple Leafs were set to host the Red Wings on Friday before the teams completed the home-and-home set Saturday in Detroit.

Nyquist, 25, still sounds like a minor-league call-up relishing his chance in the show.

"I'm still young in this league and I'm still learning a lot," Nyquist said. "I think for us young guys it's just a learning experience every day up here. I don't think my perspective on anything has changed at all. I'm just trying to be the best hockey player I can be out there."

Despite the rarefied air of his numbers, Nyquist said he doesn't consider himself in the discussion among elite scorers as he feels the sample size of 100 games is to small.

Given his production last season that almost single-handedly got Detroit into the playoffs, it would be reasonable for teammates to count on Nyquist to be one of their leading scorers. But the expectation isn't quite that.

"I think we just expect him to bring it every night," defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. "He just keeps doing it over and over. Obviously (I'm) happy for him and happy for us to have him on the team."

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson knows that Nyquist at some point will go cold. It happens to even the best of players.

That's the next test: to see how Nyquist handles lean times.

"He probably had some stretches before this in his life when things didn't go his way and he's here now," Gustavsson said. "I'm sure he's capable of going through that. That happens too. He's one of those guys with a lot of confidence and that's a good thing, and he handles it the right way too so I'm not worried about him."

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