Heartbreak for Detroit Red Wings as Playoff Hopes Crushed in Shootout Loss to Canadiens

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : April 17, 2024

The Detroit Red Wings‘ quest for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth came to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday night, despite a valiant effort that saw them erase a three-goal deficit against the Montreal Canadiens before ultimately falling 5-4 in a shootout.

With their playoff lives on the line, the Red Wings fought back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation, only to have their hopes dashed when the Washington Capitals clinched the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference shortly after.

“It’s hard, it’s gutting,” said Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin. “We’re pretty sad in here just to see it come to an end. And we have a great group of guys, a great, you know, fun year, great year, and to see it come to an end like that, is very, very sad, very hard.”

Detroit came into the game needing a win and some help to secure a playoff spot, and they almost pulled it off thanks to a dramatic late comeback. With the Red Wings trailing 4-3 and time winding down, David Perron scored the tying goal with just five seconds remaining in regulation, keeping their postseason hopes alive – if only temporarily.

“It’s crazy. It stings a lot, obviously,” Perron said. “You look at the clock, there’s seven seconds (remaining), and then score that goal. And then to come back to the bench you hear not too long after that obviously Philly is thinking that we’re losing that game, maybe, they pull their goalie, they do their thing and (Washington) scores.”

The Red Wings’ comeback bid was ultimately undone when the Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, clinching the final playoff spot and dashing Detroit’s dreams. For a team that had fought so hard to get back into the race, the realization that their season was over proved to be a gut-punch.

“So it hurts a lot. You see guys in the room very emotional. It’s one of their first big letdowns, probably playing these games for everyone, but for a lot of our young guys it’s massive to have a little nervousness before a game, making little mistakes that end up in our net. Everything hurts so much, it just gets magnified,” Perron added.

The Red Wings had been on a roll of late, going 2-0-2 in their final four games, including a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win against the Canadiens just a day earlier. That resilience was on display again on Tuesday, as they refused to go down without a fight.

“I’m so honored to be a part of it, these guys that never quit,” Larkin said. “We had a very close-knit group this year and to have the last month, the last two weeks that we’ve had where we just wouldn’t go away, we wouldn’t die. And comeback after comeback, and just so much fun, and I wish we had more with this group and wish we got the opportunity to play in the playoffs. It would have been so much fun.”

Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno and Daniel Sprong scored for the Red Wings, while James Reimer made 29 saves in the losing effort. It was a heartbreaking end to what had been a promising season for Detroit, who fell just short of their first playoff appearance since 2016.

For the Canadiens, the game was a showcase for their young talent, with 20-year-old Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Mailloux, making his NHL debut, both contributing to the victory. Slafkovsky scored a goal and added an assist, while Mailloux picked up an assist on the Canadiens’ opening tally.

“It was cool,” Mailloux said. “It was playoff hockey out there it felt like. So obviously it didn’t go our way, but it was a good game.”

The Red Wings’ late-season surge had kept their playoff hopes alive, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit they had dug themselves earlier in the year. Still, the team’s resilience and never-say-die attitude this season has given fans hope for the future.

“We have a great group of guys, a great, you know, fun year, great year, and to see it come to an end like that, is very, very sad, very hard,” Larkin lamented.

As the Red Wings turn their attention to the offseason, they can take solace in the fact that they gave it their all and nearly pulled off an improbable comeback. While the sting of missing the playoffs will linger, the experience gained by their young core should serve them well in their quest to return to the postseason next year.

For now, the focus shifts to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Canadiens will look to play the role of spoiler as they face off against the league’s elite. But the Red Wings’ gutsy performance in this final game of the regular season won’t soon be forgotten, a testament to the team’s character and the bright future that lies ahead.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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