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Red Wings become earliest team eliminated from playoffs since 1996

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Here’s something that shouldn’t surprise you: the Detroit Red Wings have been really bad this season.

Following a loss to the New York Islanders on Friday, the Red Wings’ record fell to 15-44-4 for an agonizing 34 points through 63 games, a full 15 points worse than the next lowest total in the entire NHL.

The Wings have been so bad, so often this year that despite having 19 games — and 38 possible, albeit unlikely points — left on their schedule, they have already been eliminated from playoff contention. I

If a week left in February feels like a pretty early point in the season to already have a ‘e’ beside their name in the standings, you are correct. Not only are the Wings by far the only team in the league currently eliminated from contention, they got there faster than nearly every team over every season for the last 25 years.

Yes, the last time a team was already eliminated 63 games into their schedule was the 1995-96 Ottawa Senators, who finished with a 18-59-4 record and saw three different coaches try their hand at running the ship over the course of the season. It was the fourth season in Senators’ history, and the 47 points they picked up that year represented a high water mark for the franchise.

The Red Wings, conversely, have been around in some form or another since 1926, so the same qualifiers do not apply.

This elimination marks four straight seasons without a playoff performance for the storied franchise, representing a drastic change from the streak of 25 consecutive post season appearances they made between 1990-91 and 2015-16.

If you’re a Red Wings fan looking for a silver lining somewhere in these awful statistics, perhaps there is some solace to be taken in the fact that the Senators made the playoffs in 1996-97, sparked by the play of rookie defenceman and second overall pick Wade Redden.

There’s no time like the present to start studying Alexis Lafrenière highlights.

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