DETROIT (AP) – Dylan Larkin earned his first career hat trick and added an assist as the Detroit Red Wings handed the New Jersey Devils their fifth straight loss, 5-2 on Saturday night.
âIt felt good. I’ve never had one, âsaid the Red Wings captain. âI think about my grandmother (grandmother) – she always gave me $ 5 for every goal and she always expected me to do a hat trick. I kept telling him it wasn’t that easy.
Larkin made it easy on Saturday as home fans flooded the ice with hats before the end of the second period.
However, he has no plans to keep the puck for his third goal of the night. He’ll give it to rookie Kyle Criscuolo, who assisted on goal.
âI’m passing that one to Crisky, because it’s huge for him to get his first point in the NHL and he did a great job getting me ready,â Larkin said. âHe really deserves it. “
Tyler Bertuzzi scored two goals for Detroit and Thomas Greiss made 32 saves.
Michael McLeod and Dawson Mercer scored for New Jersey, and Akira Schmid made 26 saves in his second career start.
Larkin scored with 4:21 remaining in the opening period. Filip Hronek shot the puck in the New Jersey area and it bounced off the backstroke. Schmid left the net to retrieve it, but the puck rebounded towards the crease, giving Larkin an open net to score.
McLeod tied with less than a minute left in the period. He lifted a shot past Greiss’ right shoulder.
“Greisser kept us in the game for the first 10 minutes, because we weren’t playing the way we wanted, but we corrected it after the first period,” said assistant coach Doug Houda, who helped replacing Jeff Blashill after the head coach was placed on COVID protocol on Saturday. âI thought we got better in the second half and a lot better in the third period. “
Larkin completed his hat trick in the second period. He scored from the lunge with 8:12 remaining, then followed Bertuzzi’s first goal of the game with his team-high 15th overall on a breakaway with 4:13 remaining to bring the score to 4-1.
Mercer scored a shorthanded goal before the end of the period to reduce Detroit’s lead to 4-2.
Bertuzzi scored his 12th with 5:53 to go.
Devils coach Lindy Ruff says his best players need to be more productive.
âOur best guys are the ones who hurt us,â he said. âI thought our lower attackers gave us a good night’s sleep. They were excellent on the kill, scoring the opening goal and a shorthanded goal. All the good stuff. Our best guys have to be harder to face, be tougher on the puck, they have to win more battles. “
Ruff has taken responsibility for his team’s failures.
âAt the moment, we have no options (due to injuries and illnesses). We still have to try to win a game, âhe said. âIt all depends on me. It is my responsibility. How this team plays is my responsibility. “
Both teams have been exhausted by the wave of positive COVID tests in the league.
Detroit learned on Saturday that it would be without Blashill and top goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.
They have been placed in COVID protocol with forwards Givani Smith, Carter Rowney and Filip Zadina and assistant coach Alex Tanguay. The Red Wings already had forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen on the COVID list.
The Devils have placed defender PK Subban on COVID protocol.
Defenders Ryan Graves and Christian Jaros as well as forwards Nico Hischier and Jesper Boqvist were already on the protocol list. They were also without goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood (neck) and forward Jesper Bratt (illness unrelated to COVID).
âIt’s unfair to our team, unfair to our fans that we have to play with limited roster,â said Ruff.
New Jersey have allowed four or more goals in 15 games this season. â¦ The Red Wings have called goaltender Calvin Pickard and forward Riley Barber to restore the roster. … Ben Simon, the Detroit AHL branch head coach at Grand Rapids, led the team in Blashill’s absence. â¦ The teams will end the three-game series with two games in April.
Devils: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
Red Wings: Visit the Minnesota North Stars on Thursday.
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