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Article: Wilderness Walk: Updates From Exit Interviews

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I know we're disappointed, but let's look around at other 1st round exits:

  1. Boston's historic regular season snuffed out by Panthers. This is likely the #1 choke job in NHL playoff history. They had several games to knock out the Panthers but couldn't get it done. Injuries to Bergeron and Krejci are likely the culprits. Once again center depth costs a team!
  2. The Avs go down to the Kraken in defense of their Stanley Cup title. Was it injuries to the Avs, or was it attrition in the last offseason? Outside of MacKinnon, was there enough center depth? Probably not. Kraken also have large bodied defenders built for a playoff series. They were not going to be an easy out. All they needed was a goalie to get hot, and having an X-Avs goalie probably helped them.
  3. NYR made a couple of significant TDL deals, obtaining Tarasenko and Kane. Their season went down in disappointment as many thought they were the favorites coming out of their division. NYI got a tough matchup. Usually their stifling defensive play would get them through, but they ran into a Carolina team that is better and plays a similar style. Their old legs just couldn't keep up.
  4. Fiala finally returned for the Kings and in 3 games put up 1g, 5a. I'd say he showed up, but LA couldn't overcome the McDavid affect. They need some help on the back end and in goal. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dumba end up here.
  5. Jets lose in 5, nothing really to see here. 
  6. Toronto remade their defense at the TDL, and I include Wild superstar Ryan O'Reilly as part of that solution. Finally throwing off their curse, they move on. TBL just couldn't keep it going as Vasalevskiy showed he was human. 

So, does our 6 game series loss look all that bad? We need to face our facts. We were a very good team at winning the games we were supposed to win. We were also a good team in winning games against the middle tiered teams, at least picking up a loser point there. We held our own at times against the upper tiered teams. This is who we've been for the last 3 seasons. Placeholders overperforming in the regular season but not having enough of a top gear to get us through a playoff series. We have been entertained while the cavalry is still assembling under Shooter's watch. 

We have 2 top line forwards and a 2nd line center. The rest are bottom 6 players on teams that will go deep in the playoffs. The Wild are 1 top line down from other successful teams. Our defense is mobile and good defensively but can get pushed around. Our goaltending took a dramatic twist but came out well. Without puck and injury luck, this team is a 1st round exit team, and our expectations shouldn't have been more than that.

I must admit, though, seeing NYR, Boston, and Colorado go down in the 1st round was very satisfying! And, with all the Rangers did at the deadline, how about putting up a 0 in game 7? This stuff happens to other franchises too. On paper, I would have to conclude that NYR was superior offensively to the Wild. And they were going against a 3rd string goalie who was hot.

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