Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin let his thoughts be known earlier this week when his team dropped what was at the time their second straight loss with a 5-1 setback against the Vancouver Canucks.
Two losses later now has the skid at four, and following Friday night’s 2-1 loss to Ken Holland’s surging Edmonton Oilers, Larkin is once again calling his team out.
“It’s tough,” Larkin said after the loss to the Oilers. “They’re keying in on a couple of us, but it has to be all 12 forwards. We have to find ways to get in front of the goalie’s eyes and get the puck and score simple goals. We haven’t had that the past two games. It is frustrating. Three goals in three games, that’s not fun. That’s not going to win you games.
“Our goaltending was great. We have to find a way to score dirty goals and we have to get all 12 guys chipping in.”
After starting the 2019-20 season with a respectable 3-1 record, the team has fallen to 3-5 and scored only five goals during the past four games.
“We haven’t scored enough,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Here’s what I liked, though — we got down 2-0 and we talked about not melting when you get down 2-0. We didn’t melt. We kept digging and found a way to make it 2-1 and I thought we had the better of the chances in the third period. So we gave ourselves a chance to win the hockey game.”
Detroit took down two Western Conference teams to start the year in the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars, and then also defeated division rival Montreal led by arguably the game’s top goaltender in Carey Price. So what has changed since then?
“We played fast that game,” Larkin said. “We scored timely goals. Power play scored. It’s tough. We made it hard on (Price). We didn’t make it hard on (Oilers goalie) Koskinen.”
Despite the loss, there were positives to take out of Friday night. Larkin and his teammates are taking that mindset into next week, and hope to get back into the win column by extracting a bit of revenge on Vancouver when they visit Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday.
“Even though the result wasn’t there, it was confidence building,” Larkin said. “When we play our game — and we didn’t even play our best — when we play our game, at times we’re up there with the best, hottest team in the league. We forecheck hard, we move our feet, we get pucks out of our zone quickly -— we’re a good team. We need to shore up the other part and score goals. It’s on the forwards there.”