New York – The season is now over for the New York Rangers as they fell in game six to the Ottawa Senators 4-2. No matter which way you look at, the Rangers beat themselves in this series. Not to take away credit to the Senators, but the Rangers had opportunity after opportunity to close the door but failed to do so. Now begins the questions and preparations for the offseason. Before we look ahead we must look back and tonight at Madison Square Garden it was a night of disappointment.
The Blueshirts needed to play with desperation and come out firing just as they did in games three and four but that did not happen. Instead, the Rangers came out slow and flat and it started looking like a precursor of what type of night it was. Sens goaltender Craig Anderson was sharp early on and made key and timely saves. On a shot that you can argue should have been saved, Matt Hoffman got it started for the Sens as they took a 1-0 lead and that wasn’t it. Matt Stone added to it and before you knew it, it was 2-0 and the Rangers were getting booed off the ice after one period.
Period two seemed to be a bit better for the Rangers but still didn’t show the same fire they did as mentioned in games three and four again. Mika Zibanejad got the Rangers on the board and cut the deficit to one only to be answered a few minutes later by Eric Karlsson. It was 3-1 and the twenty minutes left on the Rangers season. In the end, the effort was not there and handshakes took place and the remaining Garden faithful stood behind to salute their team as they walked off in somber fashion.
The postgame seemed to be a battle of two different stories. Head coach Alain Vigneault thought his team came ready to play by saying, “Without a doubt I thought our guys were ready to play. They were able to capitalize on a couple of their looks. We threw a lot of pucks toward their net and tried to come back. Their goaltender made some pretty good saves.” Captain Ryan McDonagh had a different take on how he thought the team started by saying, “We came out slow, it’s as simple as that. We can’t put ourselves in a hole, but we did and I don’t know why. We were all pretty focused in here, saying the right things. But it’s a difference between saying and doing, and that showed up on the ice.”
Both head coach and captain were on two different pages and it seems that has been the feeling much of this series with fans and the team. Questions of course will be asked and evaluations will take place as well and it will be interesting to see where things go from here. One of the questions will be why hadn’t the series go the way it should have for the Rangers in which they seemed to have been the better team. McDonagh went on to say, “I don’t know if I’ve really ever gone through a series like this where we seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot as far as closing games out or not playing well in crucial situations. We have nobody to blame but ourselves and that’s the truth of the situation.”
A man who deserves so much more and Rangers fans know deep down inside they hurt for him as much as he hurts not bringing a cup here is Henrik Lundqvist. For Lundqvist now in year 12 sits in disappointment just as everyone else and when asked about losing the series he went on to say, “Obviously it’s extremely disappointing. Quickly you think about this series and I think there are two things that stand out. The odd man rushes, that they kind of took advantage of, and our 6-on-5 play. That was the big difference in this series. Other than that, I thought we played really well. We created a lot of chances and played with a lot of speed and emotion. But obviously losing all three up in Ottawa, where we had a chance to win a couple I think, it hurt us big time in this series. It’s a big one today to lose, but it definitely hurt us not getting it done up there being up a couple of goals.”
Over the next couple of weeks, we will break down what the next steps for the Rangers are as they now have to prepare for a busy offseason that includes an expansion draft and the likely hood of losing some key pieces to this team. It will be a interesting to see what is said at break up day which is TBD and the tone we hear from certainly players and general manager Jeff Gorton.
SPECIAL NOTE FROM ME:
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who have stopped by to read these articles and I hope I have been just what you have wanted to read. A special thanks to our editor and site manager Kevin for making sure you get the content you deserve. To the colleagues I had the privilege to work with this season and to the players for giving us the opportunity to report after each and every game – thank you. To the New York Rangers PR staff providing the stats and notes to give the reader a more in depth look, much appreciated. Thank you all for a fun and exciting season and I can’t wait to do it next season all over again. Be sure to be on the lookout for offseason articles as the draft approaches in June followed by Free Agency.