Monthly Archives: May 2015

Thank You: One season of The Ranger Zone is in the books

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers salute the crowd 5-8

Just like the Rangers salute their dedicated fans, I salute you for all of the love and support you have shown me throughout the season. Thank you. Photo courtesy of MSG.

On Friday night, after 101 games played from October 9th to May 29th, the New York Rangers’ season came to an end, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, seeing their dreams of hoisting the Stanley Cup fall apart.

Like other fans, I was heartbroken. This loss was much harder to swallow for me. Last season was a magical run to the finals, and after the Rangers went down 3-0, I was almost ready for a loss. This year, coming back home for Game 7, I was sure that the Rangers would move on. The expectations were high, which made the defeat all that more crushing.

With the loss came another realization. No more waking up early to write game previews, no more staying up late writing recaps and looking through all of the pictures from every game. There is no Stanley Cup Final preview, and no article on how to take down the other team. After eight months of writing and devotion to the Rangers, my daily schedule will change. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers season comes to a close with shutout defeat in Game 7

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs lightning 5-29

The Rangers lost a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden for the first time in history, coming just 20 minutes short of a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

For the first time in franchise history, the Rangers lost a Game 7 on home ice, getting shutout by the Tampa Bay Lightning as they continue their quest for the Stanley Cup, and the Rangers go home for the summer.

Prior to tonight, New York was 7-0 in Game 7s played at Madison Square Garden. They earned the right to play tonight’s game on home ice by winning the President’s Trophy in the regular season. But that effectively went to waste, as the Rangers lost three of four games on home ice, and were shut out in Game 5 and 7. They scored just four goals at the Garden in this series.

The loss also snapped a 10 game win streak at Madison Square Garden in elimination games for the Rangers, as well as a six game win streak in Game 7s. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers all set for a winner takes all Game 7 at Madison Square Garden

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs lightning Game 6 faceoff 5-26

The Rangers and the Lightning will faceoff for one last time tonight at Madison Square Garden to decide who gets to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Following a valiant effort to avoid elimination yet again, the New York Rangers now have a chance to fight for a chance to return to the Stanley Cup Finals in front of their fans at Madison Square Garden. This crazy, unpredictable series will come to a close in the most exciting, nerve-wracking way in professional sports; Game 7.

If there is one thing this series has been, it is unpredictable. The Rangers opened with a dominating 2-1 win in Game 1, controlling the play through most of the 60 minutes. Then the Lightning outgunned the Rangers in a 6-2 Tampa win in Game 2, taking advantage of power play opportunities and mistakes. Game 3 was an offensive outburst, ending in a 6-5 Lightning win in overtime. Then the Rangers outgunned the Lightning 5-1 in Game 4 to tie the series. Tampa came back to the Garden and played very defensively, shutting out the Rangers in Game 5. And then the Rangers forced a deciding Game 7 with another offensive explosion on Tuesday.

As you can see, this series had absolutely no predictability. Nothing carried over from game to game, there hasn’t been one style of play, or one team scoring a lot of goals. Both teams have had their ups and downs, successes and failures, and that makes the buildup to tonight’s game even more unforeseeable. Read the rest of this entry

Zuccarello’s absence presents a big opportunity for youngsters

Bobby Bevilacqua

jesper fast goal celebration 2 5-20

Jesper Fast is one of the Rangers’ young players that have stepped up in the playoffs in an attempt to fill the void left by injured winger Mats Zuccarello. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Since Game 5 of the opening round against the Penguins, the Rangers have been without their top line winger Mats Zuccarello, out with a concussion after taking an errant puck to the side of the head. He was initially out “indefinitely,” but after skating with the team a few times, he was upgraded to “day-to-day” status.

Zuccarello’s absence immediately left a void in the Rangers lineup. He’s been one of the best possession players on the team throughout the season, and can always find the open man due to his vision on the ice and his fantastic passing skills. Zuccarello is a sparkplug, playing physical and aggressively despite his small stature.

When the Rangers found out that he would miss a significant amount of time, Vigneault worked on finding a player to replace Zuccarello on the top line. He initially turned to the veteran Martin St. Louis, but soon decided that it would be up to his young players to step up and start producing in a top-six forward role. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers force a Game 7 at MSG with statement win over Tampa

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers force a game 7 5-26

The Rangers congratulate Henrik Lundqvist following their strong 7-3 win at the Amalie Arena, forcing a decisive Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos.

They did it again.

With their season on the line, the Rangers performed very well down in Tampa Bay, staving off elimination with a 7-3 Game Six victory, setting the scene for a winner take all Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

The Rangers are now 15-3 in their last 18 games when facing elimination since the start of the 2012 playoffs, including four wins in these playoffs. The resiliency and character that this team has is truly astounding, and they continue to get it done when their backs are against the wall.

There has been one specific player that has been a big part of those elimination game wins, and that man is Henrik Lundqvist, who was very strong again tonight. Read the rest of this entry