Dylan Larkin is set to return from injury when the Detroit Red Wings take on the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. This final stretch of the season is vital for both Larkin, who has struggled to find consistency, and the Red Wings, who are looking to make the playoffs for a 26th consecutive season.
After a promising rookie season last year in which he scored 23 goals along with 22 assists, Larkin has failed to take a step forward this season. He is on pace to score 20 goals again (and currently shares the team lead with 12), but only has 18 points through 47 games played and an atrocious -14 plus-minus rating. He has been especially cold since the new year, recording just two goals and two assists over his last 11 games.
The Red Wings expect Larkin to be a key member of the team for years to come. And now, more than ever, the Red Wings need Larkin to step up and be a difference maker. It is time for Larkin to take charge and be the type of game changer that his countryman Auston Matthews has been for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He certainly has the skil lset to do so, as he has showcased his blazing speed and sniping ability in the past. If Larkin is going to be a superstar player in the future, now is the time for him to show it.
The Red Wings are currently seven points out of a playoff spot, but sit at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. The only way for the Red Wings to have a chance at keeping the playoff streak alive is for them to string some wins together and quit blowing late-game leads. This starts with every player, especially Larkin, playing to the best of their abilities.
If Dylan Larkin is able to get hot and find his scoring touch, this would be a huge boost to a Red Wings team that has been inconsistent all season long.