Detroit – There are many reasons for the Detroit Red Wings’ seven-game losing streak.
Forward Dylan Larkin thinks he’s one of the biggest reasons.
Larkin has seven points (two goals) in 11 games, good for third on the team. But he hasn’t earned a point in the last five games, and the Wings’ losing streak has pushed them to 3-8 and to near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Though Larkin was shut out on the scoresheet Friday night in the Red Wings’ 2-0 loss to Buffalo, coach Jeff Blashill thought Larkin was Detroit’s best player on the ice.
“Larks was excellent – I mean excellent,” Blashill said. “He was the best player on the ice in my opinion. He had a ton of chances, he was damn near 100 percent on faceoffs. They (pucks) didn’t go in, I get it, but if he keeps playing like that – and he has, actually.
“He’s produced a lot of points. He hasn’t scored as much as he’s wanted to, but he’s produced.”
The way Larkin responded Friday was, for Blashill, a sign of Larkin’s growth as player on and off the ice, and so impressive for such a young player.
“I don’t want to use the word proud – it sounds like he’s my kid – but I was really proud of the way he came out and played,” Blashill said. “He caught some flack (Friday) morning in the meeting, and his line keeps getting switched around a little bit, and we changed the power plays up – there’s a lot of things.
“And he came out and played excellent. It’s hard, he’s competitive and it’s hard grinding away and you’re not getting results. But as we’ve talked about a ton, all you can do is learn and move on, and he has to do it at 23 years old, perceived as leading the franchise, and he has to stand up in front of everybody (media) every night and that’s a hard thing.
“But he’s grown and what makes Dylan special is he has great self-recognition, so he knows when he has to make an adjustment, his perception, the way he looks at things. He knows it.”
The Wings’ offense has gone cold during this seven-game losing streak. They’ve only scored nine goals during this losing streak, and numerous players are in fighting monstrous slumps.
“We have to score; this stretch we haven’t scored enough,” Larkin said. “Myself, I haven’t been good enough offensively or defensively. If you want to point fingers, point them right at me. I have to be way better for this team and carry the load up front and put the puck in the net.
"We need a win bad. We need to get our confidence back as a team. We’ve played good but we haven’t played good consistently. We need to get two points and grind out a win.
“‘We need to figure it out pretty quick, or it’s going to get ugly.”
Blues at Red Wings
Faceoff: 5 p.m. Sunday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Outlook: The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues (5-2-3) haven’t encountered too much of a championship hangover. They are 5-2-3 and tied for second in the Central Division with 13 points. … The Blues have the sixth-best power play (25.8 percent) and 11th-ranked penalty kill (83.3 percent) in the NHL. … C Brayden Schenn (eight goals, 11 points) is off to a good start.