Dylan Larkin returns but it’s not enough to spark the Detroit Red Wings

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Before we get into the disaster that took place on Monday night between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks, we need to shout from the rooftops that captain Dylan Larkin returned to the lineup following the terrifying scene just nine days prior against the Ottawa Senators.

Last week, head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that Larkin had a chance to play on Monday but admitted that would likely be a bit ‘aggressive’ understanding that he was knocked unconscious just nine days prior. Thankfully, Larkin appears to have recovered from that scary incident and just in time to provide his team with a boost, we thought. The Atlantic Division is robust, and there is little room for error. Heading into Monday’s game, the reeling Red Wings had lost five of their last six games and desperately needed a victory.

As they have so often, Detroit forgot what time the game started; the Detroit Red Wings were down 3-0 to the 11-19-0 Ducks in a blink. The first two goals were nearly a carbon copy of each other. The first was by Radko Gudas from the top of the right circle through a few bodies in front of starting goaltender Ville Husso and over his glove. The second came from Pavel Mintyukov from the same area as four Red Wings stood down near the Red Wing goal. It was terrible defensive zone coverage, and this time, the shot defected off Larkin and over Husso’s right shoulder; he didn’t have a chance on that one.

The Detroit Red Wings start slow again and lose to the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks 4-3.

The third Ducks goal came on the power play thanks to former Windsor Spitfire forward Adam Henrique. Henrique redirected a Cam Fowler point shot past James Reimer. Reimer was forced into action after Husso left the game with an apparent leg injury. Husso was sprawling to make a save and seemed to injure his groin or leg. He fell awkwardly and, as play stopped, needed assistance from Moritz Seider and Shayne Gostisbehere to the Detroit bench. Moments later, he needed the help of two trainers to walk down the tunnel to Detroit’s room. It looks to be relatively serious, and we will likely have an update on his status tomorrow.

Detroit is already without Alex Lyon, who was forced to leave Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia. His injury is being called week-to-week. So, just that fast, the Detroit Red Wings go from three experienced NHL goaltenders to one and their third best, which is less than ideal. I suppose this is one of the main reasons Steve Yzerman elected to carry three netminders all season. Expect veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson to be recalled from Grand Rapids and join the Red Wings on their flight to Winnipeg to backup Reimer. Hutchinson is 5-7-1 this season, with the Griffins posting a 2.98 goals against average and a .895 save percentage. If you’re wondering, Sebastian Cossa is 4-5-2 with a 2.93 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. As excited and hopeful as many of us are to see Cossa, I feel Detroit will elect to recall Hutchinson, who has some NHL experience, with Reimer being the only healthy option in Detroit at the moment. Hutchinson, 32, has made 153 appearances throughout his career and maintains a .902 save percentage and 2.93 GAA.

The Ducks made it 4-0 early on in the second period after Troy Terry knocked home an awful rebound given up by Reimer on a soft wrist shot from the point with no traffic in front. After making the simple save, the puck lay just a couple of feet in front of him, where Terry said thank you very much and cashed in the loose change. It’s hard to win with goaltending like that.

Detroit finally woke up shortly thereafter, thanks to a Jeff Petry blast from the right wing, beating Lukas Dostal over the left shoulder. Detroit got two third-period power-play goals from Alex DeBrincat but fell short 4-3 after a late push. It’s just a game the Red Wings needed to win, but for most of the contest, it seemed like they were skating in quicksand. Detroit also lost Klim Kostin after he took a big hit from Radko Gudas. As Kostin maneuvered toward the middle of the ice, he met Gudas head-on and found himself face down in serious pain. It was a clean hit. Kostin was unable to return to the game.

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As mentioned, DeBrincat recorded a pair of goals, Patrick Kane and Shayne Gostisbehere each tallied two assists. I can’t help but say it: Kane must be looking around, wondering what happened. This isn’t what he signed up for. The Detroit Red Wings are 2-6-1 in December. Now, Detroit has lost six of their last seven games and will head to Winnipeg to square off with the Jets on Wednesday without their top two goaltenders. Yikes.