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Red Wings Now Own Second-Longest NHL Playoff Drought

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WIngs celebrating goal
It's been five seasons since the Detroit Red Wings qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Well, that escalated quickly.

In case you’d forgotten, Friday was the anniversary of the most recent Stanley Cup celebration for the Detroit Red Wings. Yes it was 13 years ago at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena that the Wings edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final. Current Wing Valtteri Filppula scored the second goal of that game for Detroit.

In 2015-16, the Wings snuck into the playoffs ahead of the Bruins. The Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 6-1 in the final game of the season. Even though Detroit lost 3-2 to the New York Rangers in their regular-season farewell, they were postseason participants for the 25th successive season.

At the time, it gave Detroit the third-longest run of consecutive Stanley Cup playoff appearances in NHL history.

The Wings haven’t found a way to earn a ticket to the dance ever since. To be brutally honest, they haven’t come close.

In span of five short years, Detroit has gone from the model NHL franchise to halfway to being the Buffalo Sabres. The Wings own the second-longest active playoff drought in NHL history. They are two seasons away from equaling the franchise mark for playoff futility, seven seasons in a row from 1970-71 through 1976-77.

Longest Active North American Playoff Droughts

Team League Seasons
Seattle Mariners MLB 19
Sacramento Kings NBA 15
Buffalo Sabres NHL 10
New York Jets NFL 10
Philadelphia Phillies MLB 9
Detroit Tigers MLB 6
Los Angeles Angels MLB 6
Detroit Red Wings NHL 5
Arizona Cardinals NFL 5
Charlotte Hornets NBA 5
Cincinnati Bengals NFL 5
Denver Broncos NFL 5
Kansas City Royals MLB 5
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 5

The Wings still have a lot of work to do in order to get near the podium for the most futile current pro sports franchises. The Seattle Mariners have gone 19 MLB seasons without seeing the postseason. It’s been 15 straight years without playoff action for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Like the Sabres, a decade has eplapsed since the New York Jets enjoyed postseason participation.

Heck, the Wings aren’t even the worse franchise in Detroit. That would be the Tigers, who’ve gone six MLB seasons outside the postseason. At 23-33 this season, they’re well on their way to making it unlucky No. 7.

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