Well the Predators weren't supposed to win this series anyway. They finished eighth in the West after all, and barely snuck into the playoffs while the Detroit Red Wings finished first overall by a runaway margin.
It was a David vs. Goliath situation but without the inspirational ending, althought hte Predators made Detroit work very hard for its 3-0 win in the finale of the six game set. Ultimately though, it wasn't enough because the Red Wings really are a much more talented team.
That knowledge is of little comfort now to the Predators as they deal with the empty feeling that comes from losing in the playoffs, but the perception should change when the sting wears off in a few days. They'll realize they actually had a pretty good season, and if they're smart, they'll let the sound of a sellout home crowd giving them a final standing ovation serve as their lasting memory.
The sendoff is pretty significant actually considering all the drama the franchise went through in the last 12 months. There was a fire sale of talent, a complicated and often uncertain ownership transer and the potential for relocation hung over the organization until the second half of the season. But throught it all, the Predators managed to keep their heads above water and make the push when needed for a playoff spot.
Nashville's match up with Detroit probably wasn't as bad as it looked on paper either - - the 24-point standings gap between the two teams notwithstanding. The two Central Division teams played eight times this season and all the games were close because Nashville's grinding can be effective against a free-flowing team like the Red Wings. It was in the first round series.
But the Predators just didn't have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Detroit in the critical situations and it proved to be the biggest difference in the end. What Nashville did have was a solid young group of defensemen, a rookie goalie named Dan Ellis who was brilliant under intense circumstances and three sellouts in front of fans who Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom says makes the building a "very difficult place to play."
That's something to build on in Nashville.