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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Mar 22, 2024 2:30 pm

Red Wings celebrate return of Dylan Larkin, take on Predators

dylan larkin

Dylan Larkin gave the Detroit Red Wings a huge boost their last time out, and he and the team will need to be at their best on Saturday when they visit Nashville to take on the streaking Predators.

Larkin returned from an eight-game absence and scored two goals in a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday. The team captain had been sidelined by a lower-body injury.

“He means everything to this team,” said forward Christian Fischer, who had a goal and two assists. “The season he’s had up until that injury was just remarkable. He’s a true No. 1 center, which is really hard to find. He drives the play. You see every guy competing a little bit harder, just having the presence of Larks back there.”

Larkin’s presence in the lineup had a trickle-down effort on the other forward lines. Detroit (36-28-6, 78 points) went 2-6-0 without him.

“Just having everyone slotted correctly, it’s unbelievable the difference,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “Shame on our group and our coaching staff for not getting more out of the group with Dylan out, but it’s unbelievable the difference with everyone slotted where they should be. Quality win, great team win, just a huge positive and we needed it. We took care of business at home here, three straight wins (at home) and it’s even more important with the road trip ahead of us.”

Their matchup with Nashville begins a five-game journey for the Red Wings, who are battling for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

“We’ve got a special group and we showed it (Thursday),” Larkin said. “I knew we would come out of this (slump) and turn it around.”

The Red Wings will now be tasked with trying to end Nashville’s franchise record 16-game point streak. The Predators haven’t lost a game in regulation since Feb. 15.

The Predators (41-25-4, 88 points) have won their past four games in regulation, including a 3-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Kevin Lankinen kept the Panthers off the scoreboard by making 33 saves.

It was his third career shutout in 98 starts and first with Nashville. The others came in his 2020-21 rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It’s been a while, so it definitely feels good, I’ll take it,” Lankinen said. “I’m probably going to let it sink in a little bit, because like I said, it’s been a while. I couldn’t be happier right now, but a lot of the credit goes to the boys in front of me just shutting [Florida] down and not giving up much. So shout out to the whole team.”

Filip Forsberg carried the offense with two goals and an assist. The Predators have outscored their opponents 68-29 during the hot streak.

“We’ve learned a lot and I think we’re putting in the work,” Forsberg said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. Obviously, we knew it was going to be a big test. And we came out ready and ready to skate with one of the faster teams in the league. And I thought we out-skated them (Thursday) and that’s obviously just something that we want to keep working on, keep getting that into our game and our puck play was really good as well.”

The Red Wings won their first meeting with the Predators, 5-4, on Lucas Raymond’s overtime goal on Dec. 29.

–Field Level Media

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