Dallas — The Red Wings lost a game, and Dylan Larkin, Tuesday in Dallas.
The Wings lost 5-2, their third loss in four games and second consecutive to open this four-game road trip.
But they also lost Larkin in between the second and third periods for COVID-19 protocol reasons.
Larkin, whose second period power-play goal cut Dallas’ lead to 3-2, was tested earlier in the day.
“He was removed from the game for COVID protocol,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Other than that, that’s all I can say.”
Larkin was going to remain in Dallas and quarantine, while the Wings headed to Las Vegas. The Wings are completely off Wednesday, no game or practice, and play Thursday against the Golden Knights.
Blashill said there is sequence that Larkin must now go through, and the Wings will monitor the situation in the next day or two.
“I don’t know (what’s next),” Blashill said. “I don’t know that answer. You go through that sequence of other things. Hopefully the next time we talk, I’ll have more (information).
“Obviously it was the middle of the game, which was tough (when Larkin was removed). We have to figure out exactly where everything and talk with (general manager) Steve (Yzerman) tonight and tomorrow and figure out what we’ll do on Thursday.”
Blashill said Larkin will remain in Dallas through the evening.
The NHL’s COVID protocol says “fully vaccinated players shall be subject to laboratory-based or Point of Care (POC) RT-PCR testing at least every 72 hours, with results available within 24 hours of collection.”
Larkin was tested earlier Tuesday.
Larkin just returned to the Wings November 7 after missing three games due to a family emergency.
Defenseman Danny DeKeyser said not having Larkin had an impact in the third period.
“Obviously he’s our leader, he drives the bus for this team and he had that big goal at the end of the second period,” DeKeyser said. “Not having him in the third obviously was a big loss. But we have to step up in those circumstances and get the team going.”
The Wings (8-8-2) rallied to slice a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 on goals by Filip Zadina and Larkin (power play) in the second period, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Dallas regained a two-goal lead on a wraparound goal by Jason Robertson at 3:48 of the third period on goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. Robertson added an empty net goal, his third goal this season, to cap the scoring.
“We have to get better defensively,” said Blashill, a familiar refrain to what he talked about 24 hours earlier in Columbus. “That’s the reality of it. We’re a pretty good team when we have the puck and hounding and playing offense.
“We’re not a good enoough team defensively right now. I spoke about that the other night and it’s not because guys don’t want to do it, but we have to get better defensively.”
Trailing 3-0 midway in the second period the Wings – after a Blashill time out – finally awoke.
Zadina scored on a nice backhanded goal, after receiving a backhanded pass from Sam Gagner on a 2-on-1 rush. It was Zadina’s third goal, but first since Oct. 30.
Larkin then cut the Dallas lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal at 14:39. Rookies Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond assisted on Larkin’s goal, his eighth, as he whistled a shot from the hashmark past goalie Jake Oettinger.
Ryan Suter, Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz had the Stars’ (6-6-2) goals.
“We started slow and we got better as the game went on,” DeKeyser said. “But we gave up too many chances, too many good chances against, and we got ourselves back in the game but we weren’t able to create enough offensive opportunities.”