Wings' Larkin, U.S. off to 'great start' at worlds

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
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Red Wings' Dylan Larkin, left, challenges Connor McDavid for the puck during the Ice Hockey World Championships Group B match between the United States and Canada on Friday.

Dylan Larkin is doing it again.

The young Red Wings’ star had an outstanding world championship tournament last year. He started off the 2018 version similar fashion Friday in Denmark, scoring two goals while helping Team USA to a 5-4 shootout victory over Canada in the opening game of the 2018 men’s IIHF world championships.

Cam Atkinson scored both goals for USA in the 2-1 shootout — a player can shoot again after five rounds are over, unlike NHL rules — to give USA the victory.

BOX SCORE: USA 5, Canada 4 (SO)

USA goalie Keith Kinkaid made 44 saves and was named player of the game.

“Early in the game we struggled and Keith was great,” coach Jeff Blashill said to after the game. “We got better as the game went along and built our game. We were better in the third (period). But there will areas we have to get better.”

Larkin, who finished the regular season extremely well, continued his eye-opening play into this tournament.

Larkin snapped a 3-3 tie Friday at 3 minutes 27 seconds of the third period, his second goal of the game. Chris Kreider made a nice backhand pass to Larkin driving to the net, and Larkin beat Canadian goalie Darcy Kuemper blocker side.

Larkin tied the game at 2 in the second period, with Kreider and Jordan Oesterle (Dearborn Heights/Chicago Blackhawks) assisting.

Kreider found Larkin alone near the post during a scramble, and Larkin tapped the puck past a sprawling Kuemper 43 seconds into the period.

More: Wings’ Dylan Larkin happy to take on worlds again

“Two great plays,” Larkin told reporters and after the game. “The first one, Krides (Kreider) was in front and tipped it through the goalie’s legs and I was rewarded for going to the net. The second one, we used our speed as a line up the ice.

“It’s a rivalry game, U.S. against Canada, first game of the tournament. It’s a great start.”

Johnny Gaudreau and Anders Lee had the other USA goals, while Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills/Blackhawks) had an assist.

“This was a great way to kick off the tournament,” Blashill said. “We started a little slow but once we got our feet under us we proved we could compete.

“There were some great performances by our guys tonight and we’ll look to build on this as we move forward.”

Pierre-Luc DuBois, Ryan O’Reilly, Anthony Beauvillier and Colton Parayko had Canada goals.

“Both teams off the start were loose. We didn’t play well defensively, they didn’t play well defensively,” said Canadian captain Connor McDavid. “We got out to the lead we wanted, but our game got away from us and we’ve got to find a way to bring it back.

“I like the way we were able to compete and get ourselves back in the game and earn at least one point.”

McDavid, the NHL’s leading point producer, was ineligible for the shootout after taking a late penalty in overtime.

Team USA will face host Denmark at 2:15 p.m. Saturday (NHL Network).

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