Okay, so all season I gave you moderately biased, moderately factual info on the Rangers season. I was there almost every week, I was on the ground getting you ready for the playoffs before you even knew what a Keith Yandle was. So here’s what I’m gunna do. I’m gunna give you my take on what this game was, what this game is, and what this game means. So if you wanna hear some BS recap about what happened in the game somewhere else. Because this blog is from my, a diehard fan’s, perspective.
I’m not one to hate on bandwagon fans. I don’t despise the people that hop aboard every time the Rangers make the final 8. That’s fine with me, the more the merrier. When people in New York get excited about hockey, it’s electric. I love that. I watch the Rangers all year because I have fun watching them, not to rub it in other people’s faces that I was a fan first. That’s just stupid.
Tonight sucked. That’s really it. From start to finish it sucked so i’m not gonna even bother giving a recap, because honestly what’s the point? The Rangers are cleaning out their lockers today, nobody needs a recap. The Rangers lost. End of recap. But this was typical Rangers , and if you think that this wasn’t a Rangers style hockey game, then you’re wrong. All year, the Raners were the team that nobody thought they’d be.
At the beginning of the year, they were supposed to be at the top of the NHL. They started 8-10-1. After that, they were thinking of dumping stall, zuccs and Hags, to start to rebuild. But then the Rangers registered 8 wins in a row and started a hot streak that brought them within striking distance of the Metropolitan division lead. But then, it happened. The king took a puck to the jugular and was out indefinitely. It was time for a talented, but unproven Cam Talbot to step between the pipes. After this, the expectations drastically fell, from competing for a top seed in the east, to treading water and praying for get Hank back and maybe receiving a 7 or 8 seed.
However, they didn’t do that. They defied all logic and reason. Cam Talbot played out of his mind and showed that he has the potential to be a top 10 goalie in the NHL next season if given the chance. The defense started to show up, they started to score, and they emerged as one of the best defensive units in hockey. And the offense, ohhh the offense was saucy. Don’t be fooled by this playoff run, this offense was once unstoppable. This team were putting in 4,5 even 6 goals a game. The Rangers were prime time TV. This is the Rangers way, play great when nobody’s watching, shrivel under the spotlight. Well, the Rangers got the chance, and had an unbelievable February, and almost as good of a March. Can Talbot was playing so well, that I was actually dreading the return of Ludqvist a little bit. What if’s are dangerous, so wondering what would have happened if the Rangers had stuck with Talbot is irrelevant, but worth a mention. Talbot’s a top tier goalie, he deserves a shoutout as a major part of this season.
People doubted Lundqvist’s return. They said he’d be rusty, they said he was over the hill. Obviously they were wrong. Vigneault mixed a perfect combination of Lundqvist/Talbot to end the year and to get the king ready for the playoffs, all while locking up the president’s trophy. The regular season was fantastic. Up and downs everywhere. Every game was a mystery. They’d lose to teams they were supposed to beat and beat teams they were supposed to lose to. They probably drove Vegas crazy. But, they still ended up with home ice throughout the playoffs (which they would squander in every series they played….just sayin).
The first round was weird. The world expected this now dominant Rangers team to roll over the Penguins in 4 and win every game by a million goals. That wasn’t going to happen. Any idiot with a computer could look up recent Pens, Rangers series and see the Rags have always struggled against Syd and co. The problem with this series wasn’t wins and losses, it was that the Rangers weren’t looking good while they were winning. They scored dirty goals and played tough defense. This wasn’t they type of game people expected to see from a 110 point team, but it was the Ranger way. Bully and wear out the opponent with speed and physicality until they give in and you can cash in on goals. Well, that’s what they did to the Penguins, Capitals, and what they tried to do to the Lighting, but just couldn’t. They disposed of the birds in 5 because the Penguins were too top heavy and the Rangers exposed that and beat them. Boom, on to Washington.
I’ll be honest, I thought this was a Rangers in 6 series. I couldn’t understand why the Caps had so much trouble with the Islanders and so I figured the Rags would have them figured out by game 4. That certainly wasn’t the case. This was the series that officially labeled the Rangers as an “anemic” offensive team that wins despite it’s offense….kinda like the Mets.
It didn’t help that Braden Holtby was playoff our side of his mind and standing in his head every chance he got. It looked impossible to get anything by this guy, and the killer b’s were killing Lundqvist. It it shoulda been over at 3-1, the Capd shoulda put the Rangers away, and they almost did. But the Chris Kreider goal to force overtime and the McDonaugh goal to win it changed the series. The Rangers had figured out Holtby just in the nick of time, and they took the series in an epic fashion. It was one of the most intense, back and forth battles I’ve ever seen: every game a one goal differential. This Rangers vs. Capd series will go down as one of the greatest to ever be played. But the Raners did what they did all year, they found a way. 8 down, 8 to go.
I don’t really wanna talk about the Lightning series. It wasn’t fun. It started of fun, winning game one and looking good doing it, it was the opposite of the Caps series. Rangers in 4 right? Yea, so that didn’t happen. There was some bad juju with this series from the start. The Lightning played a better series than the Rangers did. If the Rags had won last night, in would have been in spite of not being the better team.
What happens now? Well, that’s a whole different blog. All I know right now is I’m going full medi blackout for at least the next month while I cry in a corner. See you next season