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Frustrating season comes to end for Wings

Sunday, 05.9.2010 / 12:56 AM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Frustrating season comes to end for Wings
A frustrating season came to a bitter end for the Red Wings Saturday night.

After making back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup finals, the Wings were bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs -- dropping a 2-1 decision in Game 5 -- by the San Jose Sharks in their best-of-seven game Western Conference semifinals.

It was the first time in 18 years that the Wings entered the postseason lower than a No. 4 seed. After going seven games to advance past the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, Detroit was eliminated by the Sharks – their earliest playoff exit since 2006.

The season began with high hopes for the Wings, who were looking to become the first team to reach the Stanley Cup finals three straight years since the Edmonton Oilers (1983-85).

The Wings opened the 2009-10 regular season with a two-game series against the St. Louis Blues in Sweden. The outcomes, however, were unfortunate for the Wings, as the Blues managed to overcome two-goal deficits in 4-3 and 5-3 losses.

The return home marked the beginning of a devastating injury string for the Wings. In their Oct. 8 home opener against Chicago, forward Johan Franzen suffered a torn ACL, which caused him to miss 55 games.

Throughout the season, the Wings were forced to compete without a full roster. In November, Valtteri Filppula (wrist), Jason Williams (leg), and Niklas Kronwall (knee) and missed time. In December, Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary and Jonathan Ericsson missed a combined 32 games. In total, 10 Wings missed at least five straight games due to injury. Eight injured players missed game action at the same time, and the Wings roster had a grand total of 312 games missed because of injuries.

Yet after the Olympic break, the Wings featured a healthy roster for the first time since their trip to Sweden. Detroit surged up the Western Conference standings, posting the best record in the NHL through March and April (16-3-2). With questions swirling about possibly missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990, the Wings finished fifth place in the conference and were seen as Stanley Cup contenders by many.

But the series against Phoenix featured the same highs and lows that the Wings had battled all season. Detroit lost Game 1, putting them in an uphill climb from the start. With a chance to finish off the Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena in Game 6, the Wings disappointed with a 5-2 loss.

Fortunately for their fans, the Wings were able to rebound in Game 7, and dominated the game from the opening face-off. The visiting Detroit squad cruised to a 6-1 win, with captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s three-point night leading the way.


The Wings headed into a second-round series against the Sharks with high expectations. While considered one of the top teams in the Western Conference year-after-year, the Sharks had made a habit of early playoff exits. At the same time, the Wings always seemed to find a way to beat their conference foe. Detroit defeated San Jose in six games in 2007, and they have held a 48-18-5 record against the Sharks in regular-season games.

A few different breaks and the series could have had a better outcome for the Wings.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89