Detroit's next generation takes wing

Updated: May 2, 2013, 11:21 AM ET
By Craig Custance

ANAHEIM -- When the Detroit Red Wings were making their playoff push down the stretch, most of the focus was on extending the playoff streak to 22 consecutive seasons -- and its significance to veteran guys like Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall who didn't want the playoff streak to end on their watch.

There's another reason why making the playoffs was important, and it could end up being the more critical of the two. It meant a chance for the next wave of Red Wings to taste the postseason.

This is an abnormal season for Detroit. Even though the Red Wings are capable of winning a series, and some have even picked them to beat the Ducks, they aren't a Stanley Cup contender. When the Ducks beat the Red Wings in Game 1, they did it against five players making their postseason debut: Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Damien Brunner, Joakim Andersson and Danny DeKeyser.

"We're obviously trying to transition or rebuild -- I don't know what word you want to use," said Red Wings GM Ken Holland on Wednesday afternoon. "We're trying to move some younger people onto our team and eventually hope they become more important. It's a process."

It's a different look for this rivalry. The Ducks are the veteran team with enough depth and talent to make a long run this spring. The Red Wings are the team that's still a little green, trying to learn on the fly this postseason.