Detroit — This late in an NHL season, many players are dealing with aches and pains earned during the long, rigorous schedule.
In some cases, it’s important to deal with those injuries more carefully than others.
The Red Wings are dealing with a couple of such cases, as Dylan Larkin and Filip Hronek are being rested as often as possible on non-game days to get the pair through the final three weeks of the schedule.
Larkin and Hronek have more regularly been held out of practices in order to keep playing.
“There’s wear and tear on players as you go through the course of the year,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Hronek and Larkin are dealing with some things ultimately that we, and our medical staff most importantly, make the decision if it’s best to provide rest on those (certain practice) days.
“Every day’s a little bit different, so it depends on how each guys feels.”
Both were off the ice Friday, as the Wings practiced. But both are expected to be in Saturday’s lineup against Columbus (9:30 p.m., BSD/97.1).
“I didn’t go into (Friday) knowing for sure they’d be out, or would not be,” Blashill said. “I knew there was potential and the medical staff says what’s best. There’s always the chance the medical staff comes to me (Saturday) and says rest is best. I don’t anticipate that but it might be the case.
“We take it on a day-by-day basis right now.”
For Larkin, Saturday’s game is a milestone event. Larkin reaches the 500 game mark in his NHL career, with the game against the Blue Jackets.
Larkin reached the 30-goal mark in Tuesday’s victory over Boston, the second time Larkin has reached the milestone. His career high is 32 goals, in 2018-19.
Larkin is within reach of his career high in goals and points (73) reached during that 2018-19 season. Larkin went into Saturday’s game with 67 points.
Blashill has mentioned several times this season Larkin has been increasingly effective because of Larkin’s skating with the puck and speed.
“He’s had the puck on his stick, his shot has gotten better, his accuracy has improved,” Blashill said. “To me, the biggest difference is that he’s skating more with the puck and, he’s skated to create space for himself.”
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By winning Saturday, the Wings will have done something they haven’t accomplished since late November.
The Wings had a five-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Dec. 4. They haven’t won more than two consecutive games since that win streak.
Blashill felt the level of sacrifice was a huge factor in victories over Boston and Winnipeg this week, and hoped that carries over into the game against Columbus.
“Part of that was we got good goaltending (also),” Blashill said of the two victories. “But I thought we did a good job of raising that level of sacrifice back to what it had been through the majority of the season, until we kind of fell out (of the playoff race).”