Ladies and gentlemen, with this 1-0 loss to the Caps, the Red Wings have been officially eliminated from playoff contention for the second year straight for the first time since 1982-1983.
The Red Wings lose, 1-0 to the Washington Capitals. Kind of a “meh” game, if I’m being completely honest. I was switching to the NBCSN while the Michigan basketball game was at commercial or halftime, and what I saw wasn’t the most inspiring play of all time. That pretty much defines this season.
Let’s get into the recap.
The starting goalies, Jimmy Howard, and Philipp Grubauer stopped all shots faced in the 1st period, leaving the game at a scoreless tie after 20.
The two ‘tenders kept that effort up through the second 20 as well, stonewalling the other team’s shooters to keep the game tied at 0.
The Capitals would be the first team to capitalize (pun intended)on one of their opportunities about a minute over a quarter of the way into the third. Brett Connolly finished off a 2-on-0 rush, scoring on a close-range opportunity with literally no Red Wings’ defenders in sight.
That would be the first and only goal of the game, as the Capitals take this one 1-0 and pad their lead in the Metro.
The Red Wings, after losing their streak of 25 straight playoff appearances last year, have once again been mathematically eliminated from contention in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For us Red Wings fans, it is still going to be a little weird not watching hockey in April. 25 straight years will do that to you. I think we’re all hoping that we don’t have to get too used to it because it’s not too fun. It sucks pretty bad, actually. Just like the Wings this year.
An interesting note, with the Chicago Blackhawks, also getting eliminated a few days ago, this year’s playoffs will be the first since 1969 in which neither Detroit or Chicago was playing playoff hockey. Some other things that happened or were happening in 1969 were the Vietnam War, the introduction of the draft into military service, the moon landing, Woodstock, and the recording of Beatles’ album Abbey Road. The 1969 Ohio State Buckeyes, dubbed “the best college football team of all time” were upset 24-12 in their final game of the season by Bo Schembechler’s Michigan Wolverines. Any Red Wings/Michigan fans who are old enough to remember that game are old enough to remember the last time that this happened.
The NHL had just expanded to 12 teams two years prior in 1967. The Montreal Canadiens won their second straight Stanley Cup and the 16th in their franchise history. Serge Savard won playoff MVP.
The Wings and Hawks won a combined 7 Cups during that span(all of them have come in the last 21 years, though). It was a heck of a run for both teams, and although we love to see the rival Blackhawks ousted, it puts an end to this incredible streak.
Player of the Game
Jimmy Howard will earn player of the game for his performance against Washington. Howard stopped 25-26 Caps shots for a .962 sv%. Howie played a pretty good game despite not facing a ton of shots and scoring chances. Even on the goal that he did surrender, it was literally a two-on-none break for Washington. No Red Wings’ player was anywhere in sight to help out Jimmy. There wasn’t much he could do. It’s always disappointing when you see a goalie perform as well as Howie did in this one and STILL lose. Again, there just wasn’t much else he could have done that he didn’t do. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. When you play for the Red Wings, that happens a lot.
@ Toronto Maple Leafs(44-23-7, 95 pts)
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
7:00 PM ET
The Maple Leafs come into their last game of the season against the Red Wings sitting 3rd in the Atlantic, the only team in the top 3 of the division that has not clinched a playoff spot yet. They most likely will clinch one soon, though, as they are very close to 100 points very late in the season. The only team that has a possibility to knock Toronto out of the top 3 are the Florida Panthers, who currently sit 14 points behind. It is still mathematically possible, but very unlikely. The actual likelihood is that we will see the blue and white in the playoffs this season, most likely taking on Boston in Round 1.
Mitch Marner leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 63 points in 74 games. William Nylander is second with 53 points in as many games as Marner, and James Van Riemsdyk is third with 51 in one less game than Marner and Will Nye.
The Red Wings could see either Maple Leafs goaltender, Freddie Andersen or Curtis McElhinney, tomorrow night. Andersen is 34-19-5 with a 2.80 GAA and .918 sv%, while McElhinney is 10-4-1 with a 2.09 GAA and .935 sv%.