Las Vegas — The Red Wings will try their luck in Vegas, but probably without captain Dylan Larkin.
The Wings, who lost the first two games of this four-game road trip, are unlikely to have Larkin, who was pulled into Dallas between the second and third stints on Tuesday due to COVID-19 protocol.
The Wings had a day off in Vegas on Wednesday but left Larkin in Dallas to quarantine. He cannot travel with the team.
Coach Jeff Blashill was unavailable to the media on Wednesday. He said Tuesday night that he wasn’t sure what Larkin’s next steps were.
“It was obvious in the middle of the game, which is difficult,” Blashill said of the league announcement (Larkin scored a power play goal in the second period). “We need to find out exactly where everything is. … and figure out what we’re going to do on Thursday.”
Larkin was tested on Tuesday morning – PCR nasal swab – and later in the evening the Wings were notified by competition officials.
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Under the NHL’s COVID protocol rules, “fully vaccinated players must undergo lab-based or Point of Care (POC) RT-PCR testing at least every 72 hours, with results available within 24 hours of collection.”
A positive result means that the player must remain in isolation and not train or train with other team personnel for the duration of the isolation.
Larkin may be out for up to 10 days after the original symptoms appear.
At least 24 hours must have passed since the player last had a fever and symptoms (such as coughing, shortness of breath) should show improvement.
The club physician, or infectious disease expert, and any other treating physician providing care to the individual must medically release the player.
It was a difficult last few weeks for Larkin, who missed three games due to a family emergency before returning on November 7.
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The Wings would probably remember a Grand Rapids striker to replace Larkin. Jonatan Berggren, Taro HIrose and Chase Pearson would be potential calls from the Griffins.
Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Stars caught up with the Larkin news, but the game was plagued by more Red Wings defensive problems.
Dallas rushed to a 3-0 lead, the Wings gathered behind goals from Larkin and Filip Zadina, but the Stars sweetened things up in the third period.
“We need to get better defensively,” said Blashill, a well-known chorus. “That’s the reality of it. We’re a pretty good team when we have the puck and attack and play.
“We’re not good enough defensively at the moment. I talked about that last night and it’s not because guys don’t want to, but we have to get better defensively.”
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Blashill cited the slots’ coverage – an area the stars have capitalized on – as an area the Wings need to improve significantly.
“Certainly our defensive zone coverage isn’t good enough, so that’s definitely an area that needs to get a lot better,” Blashill said. “Our final coverage was terrible, so it should get much better. We gave up some easy chances from our attacking zone to play back in our own rushes.”
The Wings have lost five of their last six games on the road.
Blashill pointed to the need to be better defensively again to increase their chances on the road.
“If you give up four goals, plus the empty net, it’s hard to win that way,” said Blashill. “If we want to win on the road, if we want to win consistently, if we want to win when maybe we don’t score enough goals, we have to get better defensively.”
Red Wings at Golden Knights
►face off: Thursday 10th, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
►Outlook: Vegas (9-7-0) has struggled with major injuries all season and struggled to get a grip. … The Golden Knights acquired C Jack Eichel from Buffalo two weeks ago, but Eichel (neck surgery) is about three months away from returning. …Vegas just saw RW Mark Stone (five assists in four games) return to the lineup.