The Detroit Red Wings went down 4-1 in Carolina on Tuesday evening, which combined with wins for Toronto and Boston (over Florida and Nashville, respectively) ended their run of consecutive playoff appearances after twenty-five years. Goals from Lee Stempniak, Joakim Nordstrom, Jordan Staal and Elias Lindholm effectively put the final nail in the Wings’ coffin. Detroit’s lone tally came via the first NHL goal for Tomas Nosek. Justin Faulk had two assists for the Hurricanes.
The Red Wings’ streak, which began in 1991, included four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) and two further appearances in the finals (1995, 2009). At the time, it was the longest active playoff streak across the major North American sports. That honor now belongs to the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, whose current streak stands at 20 seasons. The NHL’s longest current streak now belongs to the Penguins, who recently clinched a playoff spot for the 12th straight year.
Following the game, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg was keen to turn his attention to the future; “It’s a great streak. The guys who have been part of it should be proud of it. Unfortunately, it’s over. We’ve just got to move on and look to the future.”
The Red Wings have six games remaining, starting with a trip to Tampa Bay on Thursday. They’ll then face a home game against Toronto, a home-and-home series against the Senators, and a visit from Montreal, before rounding out the season with what is sure to be an emotional final game at Joe Louis Arena against New Jersey.