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Detroit Red Wings emotionally devastated after missing playoffs, ‘but we took a big step’

Detroit Red Wings emotionally devastated after missing playoffs, 'but we took a big step'

MONTREAL — The emotions managed for so long spilled out as the Detroit Red Wings processed being eliminated from the playoff chase in the final minutes of their season finale.

There was so much to be excited about this season — 40 victories, the growth of Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, the late addition of Simon Edvinsson, learning to play important games down the stretch — but most immediately, there was disappointment.

“It’s hard – gutting,” captain Dylan Larkin said after the Wings missed the playoffs for an eighth straight year. ” “We’re pretty sad in here. To see it come to an end — we have a great group of guys, a great fun year, great year. To see it come to an end like that is very sad, very hard.”

The 5-4 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre seemed flat, even as the Wings rallied from a deficit to stage their 14th comeback of the season.

Red Wings forward David Perron celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Canadiens during the third period of the Red Wings’ 5-4 shootout win on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Montreal.

How it ended: Red Wings miss playoffs for 8th straight year despite 5-4 rally past Canadiens

“It’s a very odd feeling right now,” goaltender James Reimer said. “I think that’s kind of the case any time your season comes to an end, but this kind of felt like a Game 7 the whole day and the whole game. Right now, it feels like you lost it. It’s a tough feeling.

“Sometimes it comes down to asking yourself the question, what are we capable of? And I think we answered that in an extremely positive way, and we took a step forward. Fans in the city, guys on the team, the organization — everyone should be really excited because we took a big step. We showed growth, we showed what we are capable of doing It’s one of those things now, you keep building off that. It’s going to be a bright future for this organization. It sucks right now, the emotions are the worst that you can feel in sports, but when you look at the positives, this team has a bright future.”

The Wings finished their season 41-32-9, the best they’ve done since the playoff streak ended in 2016. They couldn’t have made it any closer than coming down to Game 82.

“You see the guys in the room, very emotional, it’s one of their first big letdowns probably,” David Perron said. “Playing these games for a lot of our young guys, it’s massive. I’m proud of all the guys. I think it’s going to be a big step forward when we look back at it in a couple weeks. I know how hard it is right now to look at that, but I’m so proud of a lot of our guys, the young guys especially, how much of a step forward they’ve taken this year.”

Larkin is the only player who was around when the Wings last advanced, in 2016. He’s gone through this before, but never in Game 82, never after winning the last three games.

“I’m a fan of this team,” he said. “I get to play on the team, but to see the future right in front of us, it’s pretty special. This season was a statement that the organization is back and headed in the right direction.

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

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings emotionally devastated after missing playoffs

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