DETROIT -– When you look at most hockey rosters, you know what you’re going to get from a respective team’s top players. In the postseason, however, role players are just as important, if not more so, in outcomes.
The Detroit Red Wings’ third line has provided that jolt to its squad.
Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Damien Brunner have become a strong third line for the Red Wings, who will host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series tonight at Joe Louis Arena. The trio has been strong to stellar through the Wings’ postseason, providing good work and big goals.
And their camaraderie is evident.
“I think we compliment each other pretty well,” Nyquist said following Thursday morning’s skate. “Andy is a great center, a great two-way player who takes care of us defensively, and Brunner’s a great shooter. It’s been working well so far.”
“They like to play offense, so I just try to balance the whole thing and be smart defensively and read off them and what they’re doing out there,” he said. “I want to play with the puck as well, but I have to make sure we take care of the defensive part of the game as well.”
It’s all worked. The three have combined for 16 points over the Wings’ 10 postseason games. Brunner has really stood out, with four postseason goals and points in each of his past three games. Brunner said the three have just clicked.
“I think we have pretty good chemistry. We found each other right from Day 1 on the ice,” he said. “But it’s also working at it, too. We try to work hard every shift we’re out there and help each other out and generate some offense. It’s worked well so far.”
Intangibles are such a big part of the postseason, be it special teams, unsung heroes or strong role players. The Wings have found the latter in their third line, and it’s led to great results for those three and the team.