COLUMBUS -- It was a truly special night for Johanna and Anders Lindstrom.
They flew from Sweden and arrived in Buffalo Wednesday evening and were at KeyBank Center in the morning for the optional morning skate and then in their lower-bowl seats to see their son, Red Wings defenseman Gustav Lindstrom, make his NHL debut.
"This is amazing to be here and watch Gus," Johanna said. "It's lots of feelings to be here."
Lindstrom admitted after the game that he was nervous most of the day but his parents thought he seemed to take everything in stride.
"Very good, I think. He has adapted well," Anders said after the first period. "He seemed real calm, I think. Playing a simple game, not overdoing things. He looked calm."
Mom told him that it was just the usual game and Dad said it was good for Lindstrom to play with such good players.
"It's still hockey. Perhaps the game is a bit faster but I think when the players are better, it can be a little bit easier to play, I think," Anders said. "I think that suits Gustav."
Although the two had to return home to Sweden after their whirlwind visit to Buffalo, they were both grateful to have seen Lindstrom's first game, which ended in a 4-3 shootout win.
"We are amazed. We have to thank Detroit for the help with the journey because this is a smash."
Wings coach Jeff Blashill was pleased with his rookie defenseman's performance.
"I thought he did a good job," Blashill said. "I read he was a little nervous coming in, which is normal, but I thought he did a good job of defending, of making a first pass. His technique defending was good, when to have one hand on the stick, when to have two hands on the stick. He competes hard. So I thought he did a good job and I think he'll be even better tonight."
ANOTHER INJURY: As though the Wings haven't had enough injuries this season, they did not emerge from the Buffalo game unscathed.
"Darren Helm's not available to play," Blashill said. "Darren Helm's out tonight."
Blashill did not indicate what the injury was.
He also did not say whether veteran defenseman Trevor Daley, who did not play in back-to-back games last week, would play but did say he was available to go.
CONFIDENT HIROSE: Blashill said forward Taro Hirose looks like a little different player than he was when the Wings sent him down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins Dec. 3.
"I just think he came in and played confident, played strong on the puck," Blashill said. "He's an offensive guy so you gotta play with confidence. Sometimes when you're up the first time and you're hoping so bad to stay up that you hope when you play instead of just go out and play. Not play mega loose but play loose enough. I thought last night he just played and he was a good player for us."
Hirose said he was able to learn in his time with the Griffins.
"I haven't got too down on myself," Hirose said. "I got sent down and just saw it as an opportunity to grow my game and learn a little bit. In that sense it's been good. When I'm up here, just trying to help the team win up here."
The AHL is still a very challenging league so Hirose was able to work on some things that he can use at the NHL level as well.
"Just the ability to hold on to the puck and be more strong on the puck," he said. "To make some more plays and just get the confidence back with the puck on my stick."
With the Griffins, Hirose had 15 assists among 19 points in 22 games. But he doesn't always evaluate his play based on points.
"It's more just making the plays," Hirose said. "Points are nice but I think they aren't everything. At the end of the day, if you're creating plays and getting scoring chances and doing things right, the points will come at some point. For me it's just getting chances and feeling good about my game."
Now that he's back with the Wings, Hirose wants to help the team have success as long as he's here.
"I think just making positive plays and creating offense and make sure I'm good defensively, too," Hirose said. "I think those are simple things I can do every night, things that will help the team win."