The Detroit Red Wings were the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs with their 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators in Game 5 on Friday. Detroit has consistently made the playoffs starting with the 1990-91 season and this is the first time they’ve lost in the opening round since 2006.
What happened? Detroit was competitive in every game, but Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was superb. On top of that, it was the Predators depth players that stood up in this series and that proved to be a big factor.
Who takes the blame? There’s no single goat on the Red Wings’ side. They largely lost as a team. Their top players were mostly adequate, but not sensational and no one really rose to the occasion to lead this squad. That said, it’s worth noting that Johan Franzen, who just had one goal in five games after leading the team in goals during the regular season, failed to live up to expectations. That’s surprising seeing as he’s typically a great playoff performer.
What will they do about it? Detroit has committed to a long-term plan with most of their key players already signed for next season. The one big exception is Nicklas Lidstrom, who might retire this summer. If he does, the Red Wings might be forced to act out of their comfort zone and make some significant changes to their blueline in the off-season. Short of Lidstrom retiring, Detroit will probably stay the course for better or worse.