As the Calgary Flames head into the Windy City for Game 5, there is a new nickname for forward Eric Nystrom – BG for Big Goals.
The gritty winger scored the game-winner with just 6:56 left in the third period on Wednesday, earning his second goal and forth point in the series.
“It’s always fun to score those big goals,” Nystrom said afterwards. “It could have been anybody. We have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net and a lot of guys who’ll pay the price. “
| Eric Nystrom #23 and Todd Bertuzzi #7 of the Calgary Flames celebrate Nystrom's game winner in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals |
He brushed off compliments from the media on the goal, saying that anyone could have made the play.
“I got a good break. Sarich got the puck through - just gotta get a quick stick on it and put it in the net. It snuck in.”
When asked about his knack for scoring timely markers, Nystrom’s grin nearly reached his ears.
“I think it’s a great habit to have,” he chuckled. “I just wanted to try to make the difference. You gotta want to do that in the playoffs. That’s what it comes down to, the guy who wants the puck on his stick.”
Nystrom now has two very big tallies in the series, the first erasing the one-goal deficit the Flames were in early in Game 3. The run-and-gun play with buddy Curtis Glencross got the C of Red to it’s feet and took some of the weight off the 26-year-old’s shoulders.
“In the first couple of games, I wasn’t too happy with the way I played and Mike (Keenan) gave me a little kick in the butt. It’s been working since then.”
Nystrom’s teammates are quick to dole out compliments to the winger and have been doing so all season.
“You know we call him ‘Nyzerman’? When we were at the University of Michigan, he was the best player in the Detroit area so we called him Nyzerman, he was better than Steve Yzerman,” laughed former University of Michigan teammate Mike Cammalleri earlier in the year.
Nystrom’s response to the praise? A modest shake of the head and a chuckle before changing the topic.
Captain Jarome Iginla, who had two markers on Wednesday, was very happy to see Nystrom getting credit for his play.
“He’s built for the playoffs. He plays so hard. He dives in front of pucks. He’s quick and plays hard. It’s good to see him get some big goals. He loves it.”
Nystrom’s timely tallies aren’t just a playoff thing. Of his five goals during the regular season, three of them were game-winners.
“I’ve known him long enough to and seen him score plenty of big goals. He’s certainly not just a grinding-type of player,” said David Moss, another University of Michigan alumni. “He’s got hands. He’s got skill. He can score.”
Mike Keenan also took a moment after Game 4 to discuss Nystrom’s clutch play.
“I think he got it from his dad. His dad certainly is a big influence in his life. I’m sure he’s talked to his father about situations,” said Keenan. “In fact, he told me this story. He said his dad and (John) Tonelli had a bad game but Tonelli said on the bus after the game, ‘We are going to be the heroes next game.’ That was the game he got the overtime winner in. He likes sharing stories like that.”
As Nystrom prepares for Game 5, he’s hoping that both his and the team’s solid play can carry them to a victory in Chicago.
“I think we could be ahead in this series, from the way we’ve played,” he said. “The team that comes out on the road is going to win the series. We’re excited to get on the road, we’ve got some confidence now. We’re laying the body on them hard and we’ve got to continue to do that. It’s going to be really exciting.”