Dylan Larkin hopeful to return to Red Wings lineup sooner than expected

Dylan Larkin celebration
Posted at 7:49 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 19:49:00-05

(AP) — The Red Wings have won three straight, including their first two games since the All-Star break. They recorded a 3-2 overtime home victory against Toronto, then shut out Ottawa on the road, 2-0.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser has three goals this season, and two have come in the past two games. He scored the game-winner in overtime against the Maple Leafs, then tallied in the first period against the Senators.

Detroit (21-25-7, 49 points) is hopeful of getting its top offensive threat back in the lineup. Center Dylan Larkin missed the last game due to an oblique strain but shown significant improvement in recent days.

"It took a couple days to settle down and after that, it's been nothing but progress," Larkin told the Detroit Free Press. "I'm hopeful I'll be good to go Thursday."

Tyler Bertuzzi, who has seen some first-line duty with Larkin, will miss the game with an upper-body injury.

Larkin is encouraged by the way his team is pulling out close contests after losing 15 of its previous 19 games prior to the win streak.

"We were playing really good hockey and we just weren't closing it out, and now we are and our confidence is high," he said. "Everyone is chipping in and playing hard. It's fun for us right now, and it's something we need to keep going."

The Vegas Golden Knights notched a much-needed victory over the NHL's best team on Tuesday. They'll carry that momentum to Detroit as they conclude a four-game road trip.

A 3-2 shootout win against Tampa Bay snapped a four-game slide. Vegas hadn't tasted victory since a 7-3 home win against Pittsburgh on Jan. 19. The Golden Knights will now face the Red Wings on Thursday.

"Definitely a good feeling," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. "Playing the best team and coming up with a win is a good confidence booster."

Fleury stopped every shot he faced during the shootout. Alex Tuch scored the game-winner.

"We played a good, hard game against a real good team," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "We're happy to end that streak, for sure."

The victory may have come with a price. Center Ryan Carpenter had to be helped off the ice in the second period after getting checked into the boards. He appears unlikely to play Thursday.

Tuch leads Vegas' balanced attack with 40 points this year. He has 16 goals, as do William Karlsson and Max Pacioretty. Jonathan Marchessault holds the club lead with 17.

Right winger Valentin Zykov scored his first goal for Vegas on Tuesday since he was claimed off waivers in late December. The Knights outshot the Lightning 37-26.

"I know we lost the past four games before this, but even though it was in a shootout, I thought that we played hard and played pretty good defensively," Tuch said.

Goals have been hard to come by for the Golden Knights (30-21-4, 64 points). They've scored two or fewer in regulation over the last five games.

The Red Wings embark on a three-game road trip after facing Vegas, beginning with a back-to-back in Buffalo Saturday and Chicago Sunday. The Knights begin a four-game homestand against Columbus on Saturday.

This is the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Vegas. They'll play at Las Vegas on March 23.