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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Miss Playoffs for Eighth Consecutive Season — Now What?



Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings pulled off another miraculous 5-4 comeback win over the Montreal Canadiens, doing what they could do to qualify for the playoffs.

But none of it mattered because of an empty-net goal the Washington Capitals scored 455 miles away.

The Capitals eliminated Detroit by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on an empty-net goal by T.J. Oshie with three  minutes left in regulation. The Flyers pulled their goalie in a 1-1 game because their only chance to qualify for the playoffs was by defeating the Capitals in regulation. The Caps and Red Wings are tied with 91 points for the final wild card spot, but Washington wins the tiebreaker based on more regulation wins.

“It’s crazy,” Detroit forward David Perron said. “It stings a lot, obviously. You look at the clock, there’s seven seconds (left before the final faceoff), scoring that goal and you come back to the bench, you hear not too long after that, obviously, Philly is thinking we’re losing that game with seven seconds, they pull their goalie, they do their thing and Wash scores. It hurt a lot. You see guys in the room are very emotional. It’s one of their first big letdowns probably playing these games for everyone .”

After mobbing David Perron after he scored the tying goal Tuesday against the Habs, the Red Wings didn’t even celebrate after Patrick Kane scored the game-winner in a shootout. Most Detroit heard the Capitals had won before Kane took the shot. But not everyone knew.

“That was the most excited I’ve ever been in my life for about a quarter-second,” Detroit goalie James Reimer said. “Obviously when we scored in the shootout and I saw none of the guys were excited I knew what our fate was.”

Kane Has Positive Take

Veteran Kane, owner of three Stanley Cup rings, appreciated the effort the Red Wings made.

“For this team, the way that we battled, whether it was to come back in games, to find ourselves in this position, it was incredible,” Kane said on Bally Sports. “It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. There was no quit in this team. I really had a lot of fun playing with these guys and just playing for the team here in general. It was a really fun year. It’s very disappointing right now.”

The Red Wings finish with 11 more points than they had last season, but the wound of this setback is too fresh to think about that now. But GM Steve Yzerman will almost immediately start the process of deciding where the team goes from here.

Over the past four days, the Red Wings have beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs on an overtime goal by Dylan Larkin, erased a three-goal deficit to beat Montreal on Lucas Raymond’s overtime goal Monday and then used another dramatic goal by Perron to win Tuesday. He will weigh that positive sign against the reality this team struggled mightily when Larkin was injured. The Red Wings came-from-behind to win some games they should not have won, but also lost games they should have won.

“We took a step,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “I think that next step is just improving on that. what does that look like, I don’t know. But you see the growth in this group, the battle in this group, they pushed this group forward for sure.”