Larkin’s Two Goals Pace Red Wings in 5-1 Win over Columbus

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 28: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on March 28, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 28: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on March 28, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The news that the Detroit Red Wings were having Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina, and Lucas Raymond on the top line sent Red Wings fans into a tizzy. True, it’s only preseason. But it’s enough to give that glimmer of hope that happier times are ahead.

Would it live up to its potential? Oh yeah, it would. The Red Wings would notch three power play goals, two by Larkin in a 5-1 thrashing of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Red Wings certainly didn’t waste any time. Riley Barber opened the scoring with a wrister that  was later credited to Taro Hirose. The play was kept alive by both Joe Veleno and Nick Leddy.

Veleno worked the sideboards and centered a pass that was deflected. Veleno zipped around the net, retrieved the puck, sent it back to Leddy who then found Barber after a couple nifty moves. Barber’s shot was redirected by Hirose who gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.

The Red Wings power play had some early work, but came up empty–yet the hallmarks of the other night were there. Movement, quick, crisp passes, and more opportunities. In short, the inverse of a Dan Bylsma powerplay attempt.

Hopefully the goals will come. The rest of the period saw both teams trade chances until Chase Pearson had a chance and tucked the puck–into a sliding defenseman–which turned into the Red Wings’ second goal.

The second period wasn’t much during the first half–both teams skating but little action developing. After what had been the Red Wings playing a quick game in the first period, Columbus matched them more and limited Detroit’s scoring chances.

Larkin had a dandy of a chance later after Detroit when Wyatt Newpower cut off a Bluejackets two on one. The puck went to Dan Renouf who hit a streaking Larkin, who nearly got a shot off after getting around a Jackets defenseman.

Larkin would break through on the powerplay, though. Leddy threaded a beautiful pass to Larkin, who had a step on Bluejackets defenseman Andrew Peeke, who couldn’t catch the flying captain who buried the goal and gave the Red Wings a 3-0 lead. Detroit would kill off a Columbus powerplay and after a couple more scoring chances with under a minute left in the period, the Red Wings headed into the third up three.

Columbus broke through just barely under two minutes played in the third when Calvin Pickard made the initial save on Carson Meyer but gave up a rebound, that Meyer roofed with a backhand, cutting the deficit to 3-1.

Special teams would be the theme of the third period.

The Red Wings would get a power play chance but it was rebuffed, and Columbus would get another shot on the man advantage just minutes later. This was certainly something as both Veleno and Raymond were featured on the penalty kill–with Raymond having an odd man two on one rush that nearly resulted in a goal.

To keep consistent with the special teams third period, the Red Wings went on another power play and cashed in beautifully, showing another glimmer of hope for what’s been an ailing power play for several seasons. If the stick work by Leddy, Raymond, Larkin and Veleno is any indication, things could be changing for the good.

Yes, it’s only preseason. But Raymond is making that case to be a Red Wing for opening night.

The Red Wings earned one final chance at another power play goal with 2:41 left in the game. And Larkin would score again, this time rifling a shot that beat netminder Elvis Merzlikins who never had a chance, giving Detroit a 5-1 lead.

Three power play goals. Two by Larkin, and one by Veleno. Columbus would seal up the end of the game with a brief powerplay after a scrum in the corner. Nothing was had.

Both teams opted to have a practice shootout to finish off the night. Larkin, Zadina, and Raymond were all stoned on their opportunities.  Pickard yielded only one goal in the practice shootout.

Regardless, it was an impressive showing for several Red Wings, namely Veleno, Larkin, Raymond, and Leddy. Detroit is now 3-0 in the preseason. They play Pittsburgh in a noon matchup in the Steel City.

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