Thu, 04 Mar 2021

Captain rallies Red Wings before trip to Dallas

Field Level Media
26 Jan 2021, 07:55 GMT+10

Following an empty weekend in Chicago, Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin sounded the alarm.

The Wings split their first four games at home but were soundly defeated 4-1 on Friday and 6-2 on Sunday by the Blackhawks. Larkin wants to see a sense of urgency from his teammates when Detroit begins a two-game set with the Stars on Tuesday night in Dallas.

"We had an opportunity here against a team we thought we could beat twice and we didn't show up," Larkin said. "We have to turn (it) around before we get to Dallas or else it's going to snowball on us. They're a good team waiting for us down there and we need to figure it out fast."

Larkin scored the Wings' lone goal on Friday. Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice on the power play on Sunday, a good sign considering Detroit had scored only once with the man advantage in its first five games.

Otherwise, it was a lost weekend. The Blackhawks scored the first two goals on Sunday, reestablished a two-goal advantage late in the second period after Bertuzzi's first goal, then dominated the third period.

"We've got to have guys go out there and play physical, play like they want to be here," Larkin said. "They (Chicago) dictated the play. We've got to get our forecheck going and make the D pay. They have some small, skilled forwards and we just let them do what they wanted. If we do that in Dallas, if we don't play hard, don't play physical and we're not engaged in battles, it's not going to go well."

The Wings played without a handful of regulars on Sunday due to COVID-19 protocols. Second-line forwards Filip Zadina and Robby Fabbri were among the players who didn't make the trip.

Coach Jeff Blashill wouldn't use that as an excuse.

"Guys have to raise their games," Blashill said. "I would say it starts with the guys that are regulars, who have to play at a higher level when you are missing other players. And guys that step into opportunities have to play at a higher level."

The Stars had their first four games postponed by virus protocols. They got off to a good start over the weekend by sweeping Nashville. After a 7-0 blowout on Friday, they pulled out a 3-2 triumph on Sunday.

Dallas' special teams have lived up to that name. The Stars scored a whopping eight power-play goals in 12 chances against the Predators.

Joe Pavelski has been the top threat, collecting seven points (three goals, four assists) over the weekend.

"They are snapping it around," coach Rick Bowness said. "Right now, they are feeling it. They are making great plays, clearly, and the puck is going in, which is certainly beneficial. Right now, you can just feel the confidence that they have."

Pavelski had a hand in all of Dallas' goals on Sunday. He scored one and assisted on the other two.

"I think the power play was definitely something we focused on, probably going all the way back to the (summer) bubble. When we came back, it was something we worked on every day," Pavelski said. "Coming back into this camp, it was similar. ... With no (exhibition) games, it's great to see the puck move the way it has."

--Field Level Media

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