The Rangers season came to a disappointing close, falling in the first round to the Pittsburgh Penguin in just five games. This is the earliest they were eliminated since 2011. The bad part is they were completely outclassed, losing by a combined score of 11-3 in the last two games, 19-6 in their four losses, and 21-10 for the series.
Pittsburgh had their way on the special team units, scoring on 8 of 21 power plays for a 38% success rate, while the Rangers were 2 of 19, just over 10%.
The Penguins were the better team. They had energy and execution, while the Rangers didn’t. This did not come as a surprise because Pittsburgh played very good hockey the second half of the season, while the Rangers have been inconsistent since Thanksgiving. The series was a combination of losing to a better team and the Rangers tank being empty. Read the rest of this entry
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Rangers are back on home ice for the first time in the playoffs, looking to pull ahead of the Penguins in Game Three.
The first two games of the series were played in an electric atmosphere at the CONSOL Energy Center. They finally solved Jeff Zatkoff, scoring four goals in 8:01 and skating away with a 4-2 win and tying the series at one game apiece.
But now, the Rangers are back at Madison Square Garden, where they took advantage of home ice and posted a record of 27-10-4 in the regular season. Despite that, Pittsburgh has won 15 of the last 24 games they’ve played at MSG, regular season and playoffs included. It’ll take another complete effort from New York tonight if they want a win. Read the rest of this entry
Following a few drills and practices on his own, captain Ryan McDonagh skated in a full contact jersey alongside all of his teammates, marking the first time he’s returned to the ice with everyone since blocking a shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets two weeks ago.
McDonagh was ahead of schedule, and his return was a surprise to his teammates and his coaches. He skated on a defensive pair with Raphael Diaz, who was recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack, and he had no limitations.
After practice, head coach Alain Vigneault said that McDonagh returning for Game 3 tomorrow night is, “doubtful, but stranger things have happened.” Read the rest of this entry
Accountability is a term that Alain Vigneault has used often in his tenure as Rangers head coach.
And for reasons we may never understand, it’s one of the things he has perhaps lacked most in crucial spots. His blatant favoritism isn’t just costing his team points in the standings anymore, now it could cost them a playoff series. It seems to me like the coach needs to start holding some of his favorites accountable.
Dan Girardi—a warrior, life time Ranger, heart and soul guy, notoriously AWESOME human being—is not getting the job done anymore. It has been bad for some time but in the last little while it has come to a breaking point. The abilities of the player do not match up with what the coach wants him to be. Read the rest of this entry
After a tumultuous regular season, the Rangers open up the playoffs tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, looking to get things started on the right foot in their latest quest for a Stanley Cup Championship.
This marks the third consecutive season that the Rangers and Penguins will meet in the playoffs, and the second straight year that they play in Round 1. Two years ago, the Rangers came back from a 3-1 series deficit, without having home ice advantage. Last year, Derick Brassard opened the scoring 28 seconds into the playoffs and Carl Hagelin sent the Penguins home packing after a Game 5 overtime winner. The Rangers had home ice in that series.
The mentality in the Rangers locker room since training camp was getting back to the playoffs and finishing what they’ve started, what they’ve been so close to accomplishing in three of the last four seasons. They haven’t made it easy on themselves, and face a tough road ahead, but this is a team full of hungry guys as well as veterans who realize their window may be closing. And that makes this playoff series a special one, and one with potentially a lot more riding on it. Read the rest of this entry