Stretch Run Watch: Final

Date DET CHI NSH
4/1 W 2-1 SO L 5-4 SO
4/3 W 2-1 SO
4/4 W 3-2 SO
4/5 L 2-1 L 2-1 SO W 2-0
4/7 L 3-2 SO W 3-2 SO W 6-1
Points 102 101 104
Place 5th 6th 4th

So, that’s it: the Wings’ shootout loss to the Blackhawks ensured a fifth place finish and a first round date with the Predators. And to make us feel slightly better about the fact that they didn’t beat the Blackhawks outright, the Preds destroyed the Avs, which would have made a Wings win purely symbolic.

A Wings regulation loss would have meant facing the Coyotes for the third year in a row. I know there are some in the fanbase who would rather have that.

I’m okay with how things turned out, though. They played a strong final game against a very talented Blackhawks team and managed to come back from a two-goal deficit. Given the intensity of that overtime period, a few more minutes and they might have taken it in OT. So if they can carry that kind of play into the playoffs, they’ll be in decent shape even against the Predators. It was an encouraging finish in that regard.

It won’t be easy, but no path through the playoffs will be easy in the West this year for various reasons. Nothing less than their best will be enough and that would be true even if they were simply fighting the travel factor of a series out West.

That they’re facing such a stiff test at the start will be a good thing if they can pass it.