Can the Detroit Red Wings captain save their season?

With a Dylan Larkin return on the horizon, is there a chance that the Detroit Red Wings can be rescued by their captain?

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) controls the puck during warm-ups.
Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) controls the puck during warm-ups. / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings are in a tough spot. They are teetering on the edge of a real collapse. Things are going poorly, and they seemingly snapped out of the funk but then fell right back into it. This team has seen its playoff hopes continue to take hits every time it steps on the ice.

Without Dylan Larkin, the Detroit Red Wings have been quite abysmal. They have been unable to get much of anything going, with the losses mounting. They finally won a game, beating the Buffalo Sabres at Little Caesars Arena this past weekend, but then fell right back into the losing ways against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As the Red Wings get ready to go on Tuesday, they have to find a way to get it done. Without their captain, they struggle. The forward core looks completely different, and they play completely differently as a whole. Whether too much is being asked of them or they need help finding ways to fill the hole left by Larkin, things need to be fixed for Detroit.

However, the Red Wings may have a light at the end of the tunnel. Larkin was slated to miss two weeks, and from the timeline given, there's a chance that Larkin is going to be good to go sometime this week. It's unlikely, but there was talk of a possible Tuesday return, though it seems more likely that he will return on Thursday or Saturday.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin has a lot riding on his return.

Sure, the playoff hopes are dead in the eyes of some. But, their 75 points on the season places them fifth in the Atlantic Division, one point out of a wildcard spot. Washington has reluctantly put themselves back in the playoff race and Tampa Bay is trying to gain as much ground as possible.

Without Larkin, the Red Wings have taken the slow and steady route to putting up points. With 14 games left on the schedule, they must find a way to keep clinging to life. Larkin being around could be their best shot of doing so. A return this week would allow them to play 12-to-14 of their final games, pending when he comes back, with their captain.

For whatever reason, Larkin has been this team's secret ingredient, and maybe all they need to kick it into gear is their captain. After all, this season has been full of highs and lows. This is one of the low points, but with "time on the clock," maybe there's time for the Red Wings to snap back in the other direction and ride a "high" into the playoffs.

The way Detroit is playing, my hopes are low. But the optimist who wants to see playoff hockey in Detroit, even if they get swept and bounced in the first round, wants to see them go on a tear. The first step to getting things back in that direction is getting Larkin back.

Lalonde said not to expect him on Tuesday but that more information would be available after Monday, so there's still a chance. But in all reality, having him back in the lineup against the Islanders on Thursday would be a nice boost.

Hopefully, Larks can rescue the season for Red Wings fans.