Red Wings are riding talented young players toward the top of the Eastern Conference

Gustav Nyquist is part of a young, talented line that has helped the Red Wings have success this season.

Gustav Nyquist is part of a young, talented line that has helped the Red Wings have success this season.

This season’s edition of the Detroit Red Wings has a good mixture of youth and veterans.

The team’s two wins at Joe Louis Arena this past weekend is a great illustration of that.

In a rare case of back-to-back games at home, the Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Saturday night and the Buffalo Sabres 6-4 on Sunday evening.

Detroit rode its young second line of center Riley Sheahan (23) between wingers Tomas Tatar (24) and Gustav Nyquist (25) Saturday night.
Tatar had two goals, to reach 20 for the season, and an assist, Nyquist had a goal and an assist and Sheahan had two assists.

“They’re good players, real good players playing good and feeling good,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Riley’s a big, big man (6-3, 222 pounds) who knows how to play without the puck and makes real good plays with it, so he looks after those guys good.”

Tatar talked about the trio.

“I played with Gus and Shea for a little while now and I guess there’s some chemistry,” he said. “The whole team is doing right now good, every line is playing really good for us. It’s fun to play on the ice when we’re winning and when we’re doing good.”

After beating Nashville, which came into the game with the NHL’s best record, Detroit welcomed the Buffalo Sabres who came into the game tied for the worst record in the league and had lost 10 consecutive games in regulation.

But the Sabres jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead.

The Red Wings, however, rallied to score five consecutive goals and went on to the win. The comeback effort was led by veteran captain Henrik Zetterberg (34) who had three goals and an assist for his sixth career hat trick.

“There’s not many games that we’ve played this year that we haven’t been in the games. We showed that tonight again,” Zetterberg said.

“Even though we dug ourselves a pretty big hole here from the start, we find a way to come back. It’s obviously nice to win it.”

The effort also gave Zetterberg 761 points, which moves him past Norm Ullman (758) and into seventh place on the Red Wings’ all-time points list.

The kids being the big contributors one night and a veteran leading the way the next night.

“Every game you kind of get more and more comfortable and you build more confidence. I think our whole team together, we complement each other really well,” Sheahan said. “We’ve got good chemistry. When you put us all together, it’s fun playing, especially when you’re on the front end.”

Youth was served a bit on Sunday as Tatar and Nyquist had a goal and an assist each and goaltender Tomas Mccollum (25) got his first NHL win.

It came in relied of Petr Mrazek, who allowed three goals on seven shots and was pulled with a little more than six minutes left in the first period.

McCollum only had to face eight shots for the remainder of the game, stopping seven.

“I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s obviously not the way I imagined it would happen, but it’s a great feeling,” McCollum said. “I’m just happy with the team that turned it around and really turned it around after I got in there.”

It was McCollum’s second NHL appearance. The first came with Detroit in 2010-11, in which he allowed three goals on eight shots in 15 minutes.

McCollum didn’t know if he would ever get another NHL opportunity.

“At one point I was starting to (think he wouldn’t), but after hearing that Howie’s (Jimmy Howard) gonna be out for a couple of weeks, I was sort of hoping that I was going to get a chance,” McCollum said. “Obviously you’d like that to come from a start, but things happen and fortunately we were able to take advantage of the situation.”