Meant to post this last night. Sorry. My game story from The Journal News and LoHud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
BOSTON — There won’t be any miracle comeback for the Rangers, won’t be any of those good feelings they experienced last year after virtually running the table during the regular season, then getting to within a couple of wins of the Stanley Cup finals.
This time it was an earlier flop — and as John Tortorella said after it was over, a lot of teams would sign up for 32 playoff games, a final four and a final eight in two seasons. But it was a flop nonetheless, a 4-1 series loss to the Big Bad Bruins after Boston’s 3-1 victory in Game 5 Saturday.
The Rangers, off that Presidents’ Trophy and final four, added Rick Nash and had elevated expectations, albeit perhaps unrealistic, even in their own minds.
“I think so,” defenseman Ryan McDonagh, a star throughout, said. “I think everybody expected big things.
“It’s tough to play from behind in a lot of series. We were able to show character and will in the first one — not that we didn’t show it in this one. It’s just that it builds on you, it adds on you. The odds are against you, but I think we were trying to compete all the way to the end.”
Nash ended up with one goal in 12 playoff games. His two season-opening linemates are gone — Marian Gaborik disappointing and then traded, Brad Richards scratched from the last two games and headed for a certain buyout.
But even through that, and through some key injuries, the Rangers could have been better and weren’t.
“This season we struggled to get our personality, just to get our identity,” Tortorella said. “I think it helped when we made those deals at the deadline. … But I just don’t think we’re stiff enough. I just don’t think we are. When you get to a second round, I think it showed a little bit. We tried.
“There was never a lack of effort with the club. At the beginning of the series, I think there was a lack of awareness of how high you have to be as you go to the second round with your level of play. And as we went on, I thought we got better. We’re out. They’re in.”
Boston will play the favored Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference finals.
The Rangers played their best hockey of the series after Carl Hagelin’s fluke goal in Game 4, winning that one in overtime and starting out strong in Game 5, with a 1-0 lead on Dan Girardi’s power-play goal.
They battled, Derek Stepan coming back from a puck in the mouth, Girardi from one in the groin; Derek Dorsett fighting Shawn Thornton; Ryan Callahan hitting everybody, drawing penalties, and then nearly tying the game on a third-period breakaway; Brian Boyle providing screens and hits. Henrik Lundqvist popped eyes with some of his 29 saves that had Milan Lucic shaking his head.
The Rangers needed more from Nash and defenseman Michael Del Zotto, and they suffered through lapses by guys who probably were in over their heads, like sub D-man Roman Hamrlik.
But Boston was better, and got a power-play goal from rookie defenseman Torey Krug, who had four goals in the series, then two by Gregory Campbell (Colin’s kid), including an empty-netter.
“When they got going in almost every game, we had a tough time to match it,” said Lundqvist. “The last couple of games, though, we gave ourselves a chance. But it took us a few games to get there, and that’s something we have to learn from.
“I expected more from us, yes. I hoped for more. Some years, you don’t really have a chance to go that far in the playoffs. This year, we had a pretty good team; I just think there were a few games where we didn’t really reach our top level.”