Reports:Dylan Larkin will miss four months due to a career-ending……

Dylan Larkin will be out for four months for the Detroit Red Wings because of a lower-body injury.

The center sustained the injury in a 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. He had 17:36 of ice time in that game but did not play after receiving a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct at 9:57 of the third period.

“Probably have a better feel of his progress after the road trip,” coach Derek Lalonde said Monday.

Larkin, the Red Wings captain, leads the team in goals (26) and points (54) and is first among Detroit forwards in ice time per game (19:52) in 55 games this season.

He has 491 points (205 goals, 286 assists) in 639 games over nine seasons since being selected with the No. 15 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Detroit (33-22-6), which is tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, will begin a four-game road trip at the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; MAX, TNT, ALT, SN360).

“Very comfortable with the 12 forwards we skated in practice with today, so we wouldn’t be calling anyone up to go in the lineup just yet,” Lalonde said. “Probably a day-to-day type feeling.”

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin will miss approximately two weeks with a lower-body injury, coach Derek Lalonde said Monday.

Larkin left the game late in the Red Wings’ 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, and now the team will be without him at a crucial moment in its season.

Larkin is Detroit’s engine as its first-line center, as well as its leading scorer with 54 points in 55 games this season. His last absence, in mid-December, coincided with the team’s worst stretch of the season — first losing four out of five games without him (including the game in which he was knocked unconscious against Ottawa), and then continuing a frustrating December as he and the team worked their way back into form.

The Red Wings battled back from that rocky month and turned in strong showings in January and February, and as a result, now hold a six-point cushion in the Eastern Conference wild-card race. But they have lost two straight and this week will begin a road trip that includes visits to the last two Stanley Cup Champions, Colorado and Vegas.

“He’s a driver for us,” Lalonde said. “These are the bumps — if you want to stay in that battle, you want to get over that (playoff) line, you’ve got to fight through some of these things. And this is our opportunity on this road trip.”

What Larkin means to the Red Wings

The simplest way to put it might be: As much as a player can mean to his team. He’s their engine, their leading goal scorer, plays both special teams, and sets the tone for the entire group with his motor. He routinely scores and sets up big goals, and, playing between Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane, centers their most dangerous line. And arguably most importantly, he slots the rest of their lineup correctly. Detroit has worked hard to deepen its lineup this season, but without Larkin at the top, it asks a lot of the rest of the Red Wings’ centers to create winnable matchups against opponents.

Who can fill Larkin’s role?

It appears Joe Veleno will get the first crack at it, as Veleno skated between DeBrincat and Kane at Monday’s practice. The Red Wings feel Kane and DeBrincat are at their best when playing with a center with pace, and while Veleno doesn’t have Larkin’s offensive track record, he certainly can replicate the speed and puck-transporting ability, as well as use his size to win battles down low. The 24-year-old forward is having the best season of his young career so far, with 26 points in 59 games, and playing between two of Detroit’s most dynamic players gives him a great opportunity to build on that. Expect his usage to go way up over the next two weeks: He averages around 14 minutes, 30 seconds in ice time most games but consistently drew north of 20 minutes when Larkin was out in December.

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