DETROIT >> Dylan Larkin is taking a pretty simple approach to his first NHL game.
“It’s just another game,” Larkin said Friday morning after the Wings’ morning skate at Joe Louis Arena as they prepared to host the Toronto Maple Leafs later that night. “It’s pretty exciting, home opener, playing against Toronto and coach Babcock is going to be exciting, there’s going to be a real buzz. I’m just trying to get ready to do what I need to do.”
Larkin played in five preseason games against veteran lineups that included Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. He totaled three goals and an assist.
“I couldn’t help but to just smile,” Larkin said when he was told the news he had made the team out of training camp. “It was exciting. To call my parents and tell them I was playing Friday was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. We’re here, it’s Friday and I’m just trying to
get ready to play.”
He’s the first teenager in 25 years to make their NHL debut on opening night. Mike Sillinger was the last Wing to do so.
“I feel ready,” Larkin said. “I think my whole life I’ve been dreaming about this. Going through camp has got me ready for this.”
Larkin will play on the top line Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
“It’s pretty easy to play with him,” Larkin said of playing with Zetterberg. “I try and just focus on getting open and I know he’s going to find me at some point. As far as him being a mentor, a leader, it’s unbelievable just watching him in practice. He makes things so easy for me.
“He makes it pretty comfortable,” Larkin added. “He’s such a nice guy and he always has a smile on his face around the rink. Ever since I can remember watching the Red Wings he’s been on the team. Just to play with him and be here tonight is something I’ll never forget.”