Nope it's an excuse, other teams are having / had very significant injuries too, i.e Backes, Weber !, Malkin, Bolland, Gaborik Stamkos ... good teams are finding ways to win it's that simple. And even healthy this just isn't a good club right now (2 stars, a rookie playing great in DD and solid goaltending) but man the D, second line + bottom 6 is a mess.
The good thing is, more and more people are now seeing that the East is a whole different beast and some huge adjustments have to happen in the offseason, if Holland doesn't want to do it, let someone else run the ship and he should just move up as an VP of hockey operations.
Without Howy playing stellar this would have been another blowout and now with LAK, St. Louis and the Hawks coming up things are getting tougher.
The east isn't as good of a conference as the west. Stop trying to claim otherwise. The east isn't filled with "tougher" teams either, so don't play that card.
Also, the Wings have 66% of their top 6 out. Their #2 D man is out. You can't compare a Stamkos injury to having 7 of your regulars out of the lineup.