And so the season ends.
"It was a good game," Red Wing coach Mike Babcock said in his post-game interview with Fox Sports Detroit.
"It's what I expected the whole series to be."
In a series clouded with questionable officiating, blown faceoffs and lack of power-play opportunities, the Wings couldn't find a way to dispose of the high-flying Sharks offense.
San Jose's Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton were without a doubt the series MVPs. Marleau and Thornton hooked up on what ended up being the knockout goal in the fifth and final game.
Don't forget about Sharks net minder Evgeni Nabokov. "Nabby" kept pucks out of the net, and helped send the San Jose club to its second Western Conference final in its brief history.
Was Doug Murray's headshot on Johan Franzen worthy of a trip to the penalty box?
Did Pavelski deserve a freebie?
Speculate if you must, but that's water under the bridge.
The fact is that the Sharks played like the hungrier unit—that's why the Winged Wheel didn't emerge as victors—despite an impressive 7-1 Shark blowout in front of its home fans in Game Four at the Joe (Louis Arena) last Thursday.
Wings goalkeep Jimmy Howard gained valuable experience. He has been a whipping boy of sort within the Wings "fandom" because of inconsistent play at times, but he showed promised. Getting acclimated the way he did will surely be a boost to a grand future that lies ahead for the former Grand Rapids Griffin.
Franzen tied a club record of registering a point in 12 consecutive playoff games. He's in esteemed company in regard to that achievement. The only other Red Wing who has done so was Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe.
Any time a run is over, there are going to be questions.
Will 40-year-old captain Niklas Lidstrom return for his 18th season in Detroit?
Lidstrom said "I'll have to talk to Kenny (Holland) about that once things settle down" when asked by FSD's John Keating.
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