1) The young defense wilted under pressure.
2) The lack of a #1 defenseman hurt the power play.
3) The overall inconsistency was maddening. I thought they'd overcome it with the last 20 games or so, but I was wrong.
There's a lot of other places to point to: secondary scoring in the form of Steve Bernier and Mark Bell were non-existent all season, and the team had trouble adjusting when the opposition figured out what their break out was.
There's a lot of people jumping on the "Fire Ron Wilson" bandwagon. I think Ron's a great tactician but can be very stubborn on execution. In terms of being a motivator, well, just compare how Ted Nolan's troops are willing to run through walls for him whereas Ron's stay on the perimeter. That being said, Ron has a great analytical mind and has good hockey instincts. At this point, though, I'm beginning to think that Ron would work best with a naturally fiery team that he can teach tactics to. This is the opposite situation; you've got a naturally skilled team that seems to lack passion. Let the debate begin. I'll do a more thorough post-mortem once we get the full injury report.
In the mean time, I begrudgingly tip my hat to the Red Wings. They knew how to exploit a team's weakness, then drive them batty with it, allowing for their own self-destruction.