Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
The Detroit Red Wings have had just two players play all 72 games this season -- Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen have missed 27 and Pavel Datsyuk has sat out 33 -- but they still have the seventh-most points in the Eastern Conference due to the payoff of their Golden Goose.
Forward Gustav "Goose" Nyquist has kept the Red Wings alive with his goal- scoring sorcery, potting 25 goals in 47 games. That's a pace of nearly 44 goals per 82 games.
Nyquist is tied for 27th in the NHL in goals with three other players who have played at least 63 games.
Nyquist has played less than 50 games not because of injury but because he began the season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins (to my knowledge, they're not named after the stars of "Family Guy").
In 15 games with the Griffins, Nyquist had seven goals and 14 assists, and he produced 118 points in 114 games the previous two seasons with the team.
But that's nothing compared to what he has done lately.
Nyquist, whose name alone should give him an edge to replace Drew Brees as the next endorser of a certain over-the-counter cold medicine, has scored a goal in six straight games while tallying nine goals during the streak.
He's had more than half of Detroit's goals in that span, including four of the Red Wings' five goals the last two.
The 24-year-old also had 10 goals in 11 games from Jan. 20 to Feb. 26, and altogether he has scored 20 goals in his past 24 contests.
The Red Wings went 12-8-4 and Nyquist scored 14 of his 20 goals at even strength during that stretch despite skating most of the time with Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan, who aren't exactly on the level of Zetterberg and Datsyuk.
In the last 30 days, Nyquist ranks fifth overall on both ESPN's and Yahoo's player rater.
The Red Wings have 10 games to play and are battling three other teams (all tied with 80 points) for the final two seeds in the Eastern Conference, so they will need the Golden Goose in the red sweater to keep putting pucks past goalies like he's Gordie Howe for at least three more weeks.