The Ottawa Senators do have a knack for knocking the Detroit Red Wings off the rails. They were able to do it again Saturday at Little Caesars Arena via a decisive 5-1 victory.
It was a night that was frightening from a Detroit point of view as much for what was happening on the ice as it was for how the final scoreboard was reading.
During the first period, there was a terrifying moment as Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin lay face down and motionless on the ice in front of the Ottawa net, clearly unconcious.
Exactly what was the outcome that was resulting in Larkin losing consciousness was somewhat unclear. Certainly, it can be said beyodn a shadow of a doubt that none of this scenario ends up unfolding with the launching point. That came when Ottawa forward and Larkin nemesis Mathieu Joseph was punching Larkin in the back of the head with his right gloved hand.
Dylan Larkin skated off the ice on his own power after a taking a hit from Parker Kelly pic.twitter.com/760klYQhL1
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) December 10, 2023
This action sent Larkin spiraling downward into the oncoming Parker Kelly. From one angle, it was appearing as it Kelly’s glove wound up striking Larkin in the face.
Scary Situation for Red Wings Larkin
What is known for sure is that for several unsettling moments, the Detroit captain was out cold. A stretcher was wheeled to the ice while medical personnel were tending to Larkin.
“I think it’s scary for everyone in the rink, when you see someone unconscious,” Detroit defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “Hard to watch, especially when it’s your friend and captain. Scary for his family when you see somebody down like that.
“A lot of emotions.”
The best news on the night was that Larkin would regain conscious and groggily skate off the ice with assistance from teammates. His status going forward is unclear. The Red Wings were offering no updates on Larkin’s condition.
“For him to become conscious and not have to go out on the stretcher, I think that was a big lift for everyone and a better feel for the extent of the injury,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said.
History Between Larkin, Joseph
It’s not the first time that Larkin and Joseph have wound up clashing. In the season opener for the 2021-22 campaign, Larkin was returning from a season-ending neck injury. Joseph was playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning that night. He wound up checking Larkin from behind, sending the Detroit captain tumbling head-first into the boards.
I am wishing all the best for Dylan Larkin, and hoping that it is far less serious than it looks.
But I am seeing a lot of takes as if this clip doesn't exist. pic.twitter.com/QNCeMA4ky2
— Gulk (@realgulk) December 10, 2023
An angry Larkin arose and immediately punched Joseph in the face. That action wound up earning Larkin a match penalty and one-game suspension from the NHL.
Wheels Coming Off Red Wings Machine
A Detroit squad that was on a 6-1 roll since returning from Sweden is now 0-1-1 in the last two. The Red Wings have lost the plot defensively, allowing 11 goals in the past two games and 18 goals over the last four contests.
Lately, the Wings are getting away from the game that wins for them, an aggressive pressure forecheck. They are sitting back and letting teams come at them.
“We’re not a good team when we do that,” Chiarot said. “We need to be aggressive, we need to be taking time and space away. That’s when we’re successful and when we’re not doing that, that’s when we give up goals.
“That’s just the way it’s been lately. We need to show some maturity and some growth and play the same way no matter the score.”