Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins - Game Two

And then there were 14: Red Wings eliminated


For more entries in this series, click here.

It was a valiant effort, but the Detroit Red Wings are done in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

  • Bruins fans won’t like this as it’ll sound like excuse-making, but health was a problem for Detroit all season. A less-than healthy Henrik Zetterberg tried to give them a spark in this series, but all season they had to deal with a host of guys being hurt. Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen. Just a laundry list of pain that almost forced Detroit to miss the playoffs.
  • It may sound nuts that depth was a problem for Detroit considering the injuries, but losing Ericsson made the Red Wings blue line dreadfully thin. The forward depth kept them going all season, but one key injury on the blue line proved to be a major problem late in the season and playoffs.
  • As great as Gustav Nyquist was in the regular season, he was silent against Boston. That said, the progress he made this season in establishing himself is something for Mike Babcock and Ken Holland to be excited about. He along with Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan showed that Detroit’s forward pipeline is still working fine.
  • As for Franzen, one offseason question for the Wings might center around what to do with him. His injury issues and streaky production have to be a concern to the front office and with compliance buyouts still possible this summer, it’s a question that might be worth throwing around in Detroit. Franzen has a $3.954 million cap hit through 2020.
  • Series-centric: Detroit’s penalty kill was less-than good against Boston. The Bruins power play was good, but are they that good? Either way, Detroit’s PK failed them when they needed to be great.
  • It may have been a fight for Detroit to make it to the playoffs, but you have to wonder if maybe they’re cursing themselves out for not finding a way to scrape together an extra point or two so they could’ve wound up in Pittsburgh instead of Boston. Que sera sera.
  • With the success the young players had this season for Detroit, a lot of the old jokes might get put on the shelf for a while next season.

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings face Lightning in ’15 playoff rematch

Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg
AP Photo

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game online here.

The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.

Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.

After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.

Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.

As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.

The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.

PHT Morning Skate: Columnist argues McDavid’s already NHL’s most important player

Connor McDavid
AP Photo

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Although Connor McDavid‘s NHL career has only just gotten started, is he already the league’s most important player? (Sportsnet)

While we’re on the subject of McDavid, what should we expect from him for the remainder of his rookie campaign? (NHL Numbers)

Jack Jablonski was paralyzed on Dec. 30, 2011 at the age of 16 while playing high school hockey, but that hasn’t ended his pursuit of a career in hockey. He’s spent the last two years hosting a weekly hockey-talk radio program and has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as a communications intern. (Orange County Register)

Arizona State has earned its first NCAA victory. (Arizona Republic)

The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs got their rings. (LA Kings Insider)

The Anaheim Ducks and the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 13-year-old Kai Quinonez, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia four years ago, a tremendous experience. (Orange County Register)