Through two periods on Wednesday night the Detroit Red Wings were lousy.
They couldn't get out of their own zone, they couldn't sustain any pressure in the offensive zone, and the Boston Bruins were badly out-shooting and outplaying them.
Down by a goal midway through the third period their young guns finally broke loose.
Tomas Jurco capitalized on a wild scramble in front of the net that featured the puck initially getting lost in the uniform of Andrej Meszaros and a helmet-less Tomas Tatar kicking the puck across the crease to him to tie the game at two. Then just minutes later Gustav Nyquist continued his incredible season by getting the best of Zdeno Chara to score what would prove to be the game-winning goal. With the win Detroit seemed to solidify its wild card spot and opened up a four-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the No. 9 team in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto gets Boston on Thursday night.
The Phoenix Coyotes were not quite as lucky as the Red Wings to get away with such a poor showing with their season on the line as they were absolutely steamrolled in Los Angeles, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Kings and giving the Dallas Stars another opportunity to jump ahead of them in the Western Conference wild card race. This is two games in a row now that the Coyotes have failed to deliver in a big game.
The Anaheim Ducks came from behind against Edmonton to win their 50th win for the first time in franchise history.
All the NHL Scores
Red Wings 3, Bruins 2
Ducks 3, Oilers 2
Kings 4, Coyotes 0
Three Things We Learned
1. Gustav Nyquist is fast
Nyquist wasn't great for the Red Wings on Wednesday, but he managed to come up big when they needed him most when he blew past Zdeno Chara in the third period to score yet another highlight reel goal. This one was a game-winner and his 28th of the season.
2. The Ducks may not always be pretty, but they never seem to be out of it
Even with their impressive record the Ducks still seem like they are just a tick below some of the other top Stanley Cup contenders, but say this for them: They never seem to be out of a game. After erasing a 4-0 deficit against the Winnipeg Jets earlier this week, they overcame a 2-0 third period deficit against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday thanks to a pair of goals from Corey Perry and a late game-winner from Francois Beauchemin.
3. The dude that looks like Paul MacLean might be a better coach than Paul MacLean
OK, so that's a bit of hyperbole (but he really does look just like him). But what exactly was MacLean's plan in the third period tonight with his team down and its season on the line? The Senators' leader in third period ice-time: Chris Neil. The Senators' extra attacker with the goalie pulled in the final minute looking to tie the game: Chris Neil.
The one play or moment from Wednesday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days
It might have snuck under the radar because the Bruins scored one that counted just a minute later, but Torey Krug had a first period goal disallowed in Detroit because Zdeno Chara was called for goaltender interference on this play.
(GIF via @MyRegularFace)
That is not goaltender interference. What that is is a terrible call, and the type of play that is going to result in more calls for coaches to be able to challenge those types of players, or at least make them reviewable.
Stat of the Night
Corey Perry's two goals on Wednesday give him 41 on the season (his second 40-goal season in the past four years) and 143 goals since the start of the 2010-11 season. Since then only two players in the NHL have more goals than him: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos with 157 and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin with 150.