DETROIT -- Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, a 17-year veteran, six-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion, assessed the 2009 Stanley Cup Final against the Penguins as the "toughest" postseason series of his storied NHL career.
It ended in the toughest fashion imaginable for Lidstrom and the Red Wings, with a 2-1, Cup-securing victory for the Penguins in Game 7 on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Lidstrom had a chance to tie the score just before the third period expired but was denied on a shot from the face-off circle to Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's right.
After making an initial stop, Fleury was able to move left to right across his crease and get a shoulder on Lidstrom's subsequent blast.
"That's what happens when you're in a real good series," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Not only did their good players play good, but I thought their team played good and played hard.
"I thought Fleury had his best two games in Game 6 and Game 7, and you've got to give him credit."
Detroit led the series 2-0 and 3-2 before losing the last two games, including Game 7 on home ice.
"I thought we competed, and I thought we tried," Babcock said. "But I never thought we got to the level we'd have liked to."
The Red Wings were trying to become the NHL's first back-to-back champion since they accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998, and were gunning for their fifth Cup since '97.
Lidstrom and the Red Wings defeated the Penguins in last year's Final, four games to two. …