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6 Things the Rangers needed to do better in the playoffs

rangers hi five line 5-26

The Rangers fell short of their lofty expectations in the playoffs. These are a few things that they needed to do better. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Bobby Bevilacqua

A promising season led to postseason disappointment for the Rangers, falling short of their Stanley Cup goals, and losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. They came just 20 minutes shy of a second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals berth.

After acquiring Keith Yandle at the trade deadline, many believed that this put the Rangers in a “win-now” mode. The players had these same expectations, which is why they too seemed disgruntled during their exit interviews yesterday.

A lot of people thought that this was the year that the Rangers would finally recapture the Stanley Cup after 21 long seasons. But there were injuries, failed game plans, as well as a strong Tampa Bay team standing in their way.

Hindsight is 20/20, so here is what the Rangers needed to do differently or better in order to win. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers breakup day: Injuries galore, Zuccarello recovering, St. Louis’ future uncertain

Bobby Bevilacqua

derick brassard interview

Derick Brassard, along with other Rangers, spoke to media members today during the exit interviews, with the season officially over. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

At the end of each team’s season, a breakup day is conducted, with players and coaches giving exit interviews, equipment being removed, and new information being released, regarding things like injuries.

To some extent, it was known that some Rangers were dealing with injures. But today’s interviews revealed a lot more than just bumps and bruises.

After Game 7, Alain Vigneault announced that Ryan McDonagh had been playing with a broken foot for a few games. It was obviously quite serious, because he came into his interview on crutches and wearing a walking boot. He fractured the foot while blocking a shot at the end of the second period of Game 4 against the Lightning. He’ll wear the walking boot for four weeks, and will then be reevaluated.

The Rangers were dealing with a lot of other injuries on the blue line as well. Read the rest of this entry

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