Detroit Red Wings Miss Playoffs for 1st Time in 26 Seasons

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2017

Detroit Red Wings' Anthony Mantha (39) and Carolina Hurricanes' Lee Stempniak (21) chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

For the first time in 26 seasons, the Detroit Red Wings won't make an appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Red Wings' fate was sealed Tuesday night following a confluence of events in the Eastern Conference. Not only did they fall to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1, but the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins scored wins over the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators to dash Detroit's fading postseason hopes.

Sportsnet Stats on Twitter provided an overview of just how impressive the team's streak was:

"Right now it's hard to talk about it, because you're a big reason why it's not continuing," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said, per NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika.

Headed toward an early vacation for the first time since 1990, the Red Wings will have to prep as they enter the doldrums of their rebuild—unfamiliar territory for a franchise that has been a mainstay atop the standings for decades.

It's not all doom and gloom for Detroit, however.

While the team does need to restock its prospects pool, rising talents such as Andreas Athanasiou (18 goals, 11 assists), Anthony Mantha (17 goals, 19 assists) and Dylan Larkin (15 goals, 12 assists) are each 22 years old or younger and pack tremendous promise.

If those three can continue developing into franchise cornerstones, the rebuild could conceivably progress at a brisk clip.

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