Robby Fabbri set to return but Dylan Larkin puts a wrench in things

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The Detroit Red Wings are flying high following their victory over the Boston Bruins over the weekend and are headed to New York to square off with the Rangers on Tuesday night, but possibly without Dylan Larkin.

First, the good news. The Detroit Red Wings will get forward Robby Fabbri back. Fabbri, 27, was injured during the first game of the season. The Red Wings called the injury a lower-body injury but mentioned that it was not a knee issue. Fabbri, of course, has had various knee injuries throughout his career; he’s torn one twice and the other once.

Last year, he was shut down early as a precaution after suffering a minor injury to his knee, and during the off-season, he underwent a minor procedure to ‘clean up’ a knee. It was beyond discouraging to see Fabbri play one game before suffering another injury, but that’s precisely what happened. In his lone game this season, Fabbri did score. His offensive touch will be a welcomed sight, but the immediate question will be, how long will he remain healthy and available for the Detroit Red Wings? There isn’t an answer, but let’s hope he can stay in Detroit’s middle six for the remainder of the season. Last season, Fabbri was limited to just 28 games; he recorded seven goals and 16 points while averaging 16 minutes of ice time per night. He’s only played over 60 games in a season twice in his career.

Now, the possible bad news.

The Detroit Red Wings could be without Dylan Larkin.

Dylan Larkin, 27, really pushed through Saturday night’s victory over the Boston Bruins. It was not just your average regular season game in November. The Detroit Red Wings stumbled into Saturday’s game looking to right the ship before completely losing control. During the four games prior, Detroit’s power play quickly became powerless. Star forward and sharpshooter Alex DeBrincat found himself in a mini-scoring slump, having not recorded a point during Detroit’s four-game losing skid. Larkin was only able to muster an assist over the same stretch. The Red Wings rely heavily upon those two star forwards, and when they are in a cold snap, Detroit will be hard-pressed to come up with victories.

Detroit was able to hand Boston their first regulation loss over the weekend thanks to a valiant effort from Larkin. Detroit’s captain was playing through an upper-body injury, often grimacing as he slowly returned to his skates after being checked or following a scrum, and there were a ton of those to finish the game. Larkin didn’t practice on Monday, and his head coach, Derek Lalonde, mentioned, “He’s battling through some bumps and bruises, so we hope to have him for tomorrow, but we’ll evaluate in the morning (Tuesday).” Lalonde also admitted that Larkin gutted through Saturday’s game on adrenaline. Larkin, as usual, was Detroit’s best player over the weekend and somehow found the energy at the end of a minute-and-a-half shift to pull away from a Boston defender and beat Linus Ullmark to tie the game at three following an excellent feed from Lucas Raymond in the neutral zone. Larkin leads the Red Wings with 17 points through the first 12 games of the season.

If Larkin can go Monday, Detroit’s top line will remain intact. The second line will consist of David Perron, J.T. Compher, and Andrew Copp. Joe Veleno will return to his usual duty of centering the third line between Fabbri and Daniel Sprong. That leaves Michael Rasmussen sliding down to the fourth line between Klim Kostin and Christian Fischer.

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Fischer missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury but will return to the lineup Tuesday. Austin Czarnik will be available to center the fourth group if Dylan Larkin cannot go. If that is the case, I would like to see Joe Veleno slide up to that first group, but I wouldn’t expect it. Lalonde would likely move Copp or Compher up to the top line; the other would center the second unit.

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