The Detroit Red Wings haven’t received too much good news this season, but they did this weekend when they discovered that Dylan Larkin was able to return on Sunday to play the Vegas Golden Knights. Detroit had just snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday night with a big victory over the Buffalo Sabres and were in need of all the manpower they could get in the second half of a back-to-back on Sunday against the Golden Knights.
Larkin missed three consecutive games for the Red Wings last week for what was deemed to be “personal reasons”, but Detroit had their captain back against Vegas and Little Caesar’s Arena couldn’t have been happier as the crowd gave Larkin a massive reception when he stepped foot on the ice.
“Dylan is a big piece of who we are and the guys care about each other, care about him,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said about Larkin’s return, via the Detroit News. “It was good from their perspective to have him back, and it was for him, too.”
The team looked much more dangerous with Larkin back, especially the power play. Larkin is hoping he and his teammates could put last week behind them as they continue to build for the future.
“It was a tough week personally and I had to be at home for a family emergency,” Larkin said. “I had to be with my family. It’s a private matter and I hope everyone can really respect myself and my family’s privacy during this tough time.”
Larkin slotted right back into the first line alongside Tyler Bertuzzi and Lucas Raymond, playing 19 minutes and 11 seconds in his first game back.
“It’s hard to put into words right now,” Larkin said as he choked up describing his return.
The 25-year-old has spent his entire professional career in Detroit with the Red Wings, after they selected him 15th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
“All 20 guys worked hard and it was a team effort,” Larkin said. “It was good to see guys get rewarded. It’s a great feeling. We should be proud. We have a homestand with tough teams coming in and we’re going to need that effort.”
Along with Larkin’s contributions on Sunday, the Red Wings also got some stellar goaltending from veteran Thomas Greiss. The 35-year-old came up big when called upon against the Golden Knights, helping his team pick up a crucial two points.
“It’s huge,” Blashill said of Greiss’ play as of late. “I just don’t know in this league if you can win on a consistent basis unless you get good goaltending. We need the same. We were able to build the lead and he was able to shut the door in the third.”
The Red Wings understand the season is a marathon though and they will need to continue to improve and earn important victories if they have any chance of getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2016. After reaching the playoffs for 25 straight seasons, Detroit haven’t qualified for the postseason for five consecutive seasons now and they are desperate to get back.