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Articles from practice: Larkin looks to solve sophomore slump; Zetterberg on the Caps

Updated at 4:43 PM: The Detroit Red Wings practiced at the University Liggett School ahead of back-to-back matinee games against Washington (at the Joe) and Pittsburgh (in the Steel City), with the Wings icing some familiar lines, with Vanek, Nielsen and Athanasiou reunited and Anthony Mantha back on his familiar spot on Henrik Zetterberg's wing.

After practice, Dylan Larkin spoke with the Free Press's George Sipple about what's become one hell of a sophomore slump...

Larkin has 12 goals and seven assists for 19 points this season. He has a minus-18 rating in 55 games heading into Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals (2 p.m., FSD, NHL Network).

“Right now, we have 25 games left,” Larkin said. “Especially for a player like myself, where things this year haven’t gone the way I would have liked them to, every day is a tryout. Every day, I’m trying to earn extra ice time, earn more trust. Earn things doing it the right way and working hard.”

“You look at opportunities and you look at bounces, even, as crazy as it sounds,” Larkin said. “You look at shots on goal, in the past few months, (it) hasn’t been there for myself. It’s a stat that’s black and white, in the face. To score goals, to get assists off rebounds, to create offense, you have to put the puck on net.”

Larkin averaged 2.8 shots per game and a 10.4 shooting percentage last season. He is averaging 2.4 shots per game this season, with a 9.2 shooting percentage.

Sipple continues, and in the multimedia department, MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Henrik Zetterberg regarding "taking advantage" of the Capitals as they come off their "Bye Week":

Update: Sipple posted a clip of Larkin speaking with the media:

Update: The Wings spoke with DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji regarding this weekend's schedule:

CAPITALS AGAIN, THEN PENGUINS: The Wings lost in Washington, D.C. last week but could have a small advantage going into Saturday's home game against the Capitals.

The Capitals are coming off their bye and haven't played since beating the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 11.

So far teams are 3-8-1 when coming off a bye.

"In the end, three teams won so it's not foolproof," Blashill said. "We're playing probably the team that many consider the best team in the league right now. We got to play a great hockey game. We got to replicate a lot of what we've done over the last little bit, but find a way either through specialty teams or through a play here and there, to two points."

Ideally, the Wings would come out with a hot start.

"You got to try to keep the tempo high and keep the shifts shorts, get momentum on your side right away," Zetterberg said. "If we do that, we probably can take advantage from the start. But I would say, after the All-Star break. It probably takes a period and then you're kind of in it again. So, if we're going to take advantage we got to be sharp from the start."

After playing the top team in the league, the Wings have to travel to Pittsburgh to face the league's third-best team and the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"Gotta make sure when you play teams like that, with high end talent and superstars, you gotta make sure you don't get outworked and give them anything for free," Nielsen said. "I played a lot against them with New York being in the same division. It's fun games. It's good teams. It's gonna be high paced. Again it's those teams you want to measure yourselves up against. It's two big games for us."

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.

 

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