Wings brace for busy stretch up to trade deadline
Detroit — The Red Wings talked about starting on time against the Islanders, 7 p.m. Friday in Brooklyn, after failing to do so Tuesday against the Bruins left them lagging in a 3-2 loss, after three well-played games coming out of the All-Star break.
Henrik Zetterberg missed practice Thursday, but Jeff Blashill said he will play in New York.
It is a maintenance day for the 37-year-old captain, who continues to move up on the Wings’ list of career performers. Zetterberg has missed just two games in four seasons, since back surgery in 2014 after he returned from the Sochi Olympics largely immobile and in considerable pain.
“It’s a time when we can rally and get a lot of games in a short period of time,” said Dylan Larkin, who has eight goals and 31 assists for 39 points in 52 games played.
“If we get hot at the right time, it could be a really fun stretch.”
Larkin now has 48 goals and 68 assists for 116 points in 212 career games.
Some of Zetterberg’s herculean time on ice in recent seasons has shifted to the 21 year-old Larkin this season.
After the Islanders, the Red Wings begin a stretch of nine games in 15 days that will take them to the NHL trade deadline Feb. 26.
They have only 12 games remaining at home, and five will be played before the deadline.
“If we do well,” Larkin said, of the approaching juncture of the season, “we could be right where we want to be with one month left.”
Beginning play Thursday, the Red Wings were eight points out of the second wild-card spot counting the tie-breaker.
Their playoff chances are among the longest of long shots.
“I think there’s a huge urgency in the games we have coming,” Blashill said.
“The games we have ahead of us will make the latter games matter, if you take care of business. So we need to make those game matter at the end of the year by winning right now.”