My story on the Rangers-Bruins finale

48

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.”

 

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48 Comments

  1. Repost:

    Carp, Perhaps our disagreement is as much about semantics as it is about substance? You say the Rangers were being worn out by Boston………I say the Rangers being fatigued. …..Worn out …..fatigued? I think we may be saying the same thing. Potatoes / pototoes? Tomatoes / tomotoes?

    And I do attribute the worn-out / fatigue factor to a combination of:
    1) the physical pounding Boston put on us
    2) the system / style of our play which leads to physical abuse of our defensemen and smallish wingers along the wall and too much DZone play
    3) our lack of quality depth in comparison to a team like Boston (not so much Washington)

    Definitely not because the Rangers train any different or don’t train as hard or have less committed athletes than other teams. More because of size, depth and style.

    Two years in a row, when we met our fate, we were definitely a team which was more fatigued // worn down than our opponent.

    May 26th, 2013 at 8:30 PM

  2. Miami, certainly not championship caliber. 1 in 73 is staring to wear on me. Maybe it is amateur hour.

  3. the team has depth, especially after the trade deadline. but when your role players get injured it is tough to compete with a team like boston. clowe could’ve made a difference and added a physical presence the rangers desperately needed. a few bounces for the rangers and the series would’ve had a different feel to it.

  4. And being satisfied or trying to justify success because you made it to the 2nd round a year after you made it to the 3rd round? Please that’s a step in the wrong direction and, your team was thoroughly spanked in the 2nd round, would have been swept if not for a couple of gift / fluke goals in game four.

    Ironic how Tortarella is living now in Spin City. The guy who wont answer simple questions in his post game pressors.

  5. Rob in Beantown on

    The Rangers could have won if they had gotten a few bounces, but they would have been very lucky. They were not the better team. And the fact that the games were so close has a lot to do with the goalie. Most of the spectacular saves happened on one side of the ice.

  6. Rob in Beantown on

    But to win the series they probably would have had to get every bounce and the Bruins get none

  7. It is definitely a different argument than the one so popular here last season, that the Rangers played 20 games so they were fatigued.

  8. Stranger Nation on

    Great post mortem heads – sure more to follow.
    (Repost)
    UNDER THE HEADING: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
    Re Nash and his 75% of goals against non-playoff teams
    Other similar stats:
    Ovi – (15 Gs out of 23) last 2 mos 66% vs. non=PO teams
    Kane: (9 Gs out of 13) during last 2 mos vs. non PO
    Stamkos: (17 out of 29) for entire season v. Non PO

    there is a reason goal scorers score more often against poorer teams; their D stinks. Just a dumb stat trying to make a dumber point.

  9. good stat about a bad stat, Stranger :)

    … not to further the prior argument, but I’d say the Capitals forwards punished the Rangers’ D more than the Bruins forwards did.

  10. wick, I think it’s a terrible risk. But I also believe the coach wants him, and the GM gave up a lot to get him, so they will try to re-sign him.

  11. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Carp
    Thanks. I agree with you on both points, big risk if he isn’t 100% .

    I also think with torts comment in the post game about clowe is our lucic, probably says all we need to know about if torts wants him back.

  12. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    I thought I saw something on the widget where Katie strang didn’t think he would be back because the rangers didn’t want him…just her musing I hope!

  13. And frankly, in defense of Bonehead Nation and most who post here, I think there exists a discernible level of sophistication and substance running through these threads which probably presented more cogent argument at the time as to why we lost the Devil series last year than to simply blame it on the fact we played 20 hard fought playoff contents in a 2 months period of time.

  14. Any early predictions as to who cracks the line-up? Any UFA signings? Trades?

    I think the will resign Zucc.
    Miller and Kreider are locks for the team unless they have bad camps. Thomas? McIlrath? Fast? Lindberg? Other?

    As for UFA’s Horton, Clarkson and Iggy are all tempting–but I hope the rangers pass.

    Depending on how McIlrath a looks in camp Maybe it makes sense for the rangers to trade one of their small fast guys (Hags/Thomas/Zucc/St. Croix) and MDZ. If there’s no value in any of those players, maybe not.

    Staal/Girardi
    McD/Stralman
    Moore/McIlrath With Emmy for the 7th d man. This could make MDZ trade bate if anybody wants him.

  15. Papa Bear, very good posts reflecting fact and logic.

    And dare I say it the famous “Macro view”!

    The trouble with all blogs is everyone has an opinion similar to everyone gets one vote.

    A terrible system which should be abolished in favor of only those with some identifiable factual knowledge and common sense be allowed in the booth! ;)

  16. bottom line is this year version of the 2013 rangers was more FLAWED then last year. holes in depth at defense with injuries not enough production from bottom six fowards and RICHY BEING A WASTE WHEN LAST YEAR HE HAD 21 GOALS SET UP GABBY GETTING 41.

    WE ARE OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED IN KEY SPOTS AND NEED WORK TOO HARD TO SCORE.

    WE NEED MORE SKILL PLAYEMAKERS.

    a guy like hags has all the speed in the world but he cant score and same thin for zuccarello.

  17. We had a pretty good run and the way we went out hurt as much as losing…our inability to compete. Kudos to the B’s…they did what they needed to win..not much more…but winning in five pretty much says it all. I am not going to bash the team…I took my shots throughout the season–but I love that jersey and have an expectation from everyone granted the honor to wear it. As for Torts–well, I was not an early fan..became a believer after LY and really questioned his tactics TY…but I’d am still in his corner and looking forward to Oct already. It is a long ways away–but at least Carp and this blog will get me there. Most importantly-I learned it’s for “all intents and purposes”..and will have to live with the shame that I was in Roenick’s camp on that one!

  18. … not to further the prior argument, but I’d say the Capitals forwards punished the Rangers’ D more than the Bruins forwards did.

    Tell that to Strallman.

  19. I think Del Zotto is worth holding onto. We don’t have depth back there like we used to, and at this point he seems like one of those core guys that is a big part of the room. He had some really big games this year.

    This was just an ugly year

    There sure is a LOT of denial about this team though. Boston is good but not that good. We just were not good.

    I’ll enjoy seeing PIT crush Boston. I just pray whoever comes out of the West has what it takes to beat PIT, and I think the Kings are the only ones who could really do it.

  20. Stranger Nation on

    Kreider/Step/Nash
    Clowe/Brass/Cally
    Hags/Miller/Dorsett
    Zucc/Boyle/Haley/Asham

    not so bad a lineup – if no Clowe – big hole at 2nd line RW

    love Hags game, but better suited to 3rd line pest to pin other teams top lines in zone. Should score 25 with chances but is not a scorers scorer

  21. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    SNation. My brutha. You be dropping some serious sits-tis-ticks on my bruthas….

    That be serious.

  22. Kreider/Brass/Nash
    Hags/Step/Cally
    Miller/Lindberg/Dorsett
    UFA?/Mshinter?/Asham?/Boyle/Haley

    McD/Girardi
    Staal/Stralman
    Moore/McIlrath

    A lot if ifs for this team next year.
    1.Nash having a better year
    2.Miller/Kreider/Lindber/McIlrath having a good season
    3.Brass and Steps continuing to play the way they have for the Rangers next season
    4.

  23. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    My brutha – when you be 34 % of the remaking 47%, you be 86% of basically, in other words, 68%.

  24. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    My brutha – 20% of the time, it usually goes without saying, nevertheless.

  25. Stranger Nation on

    As much as Nash did his Nevdead In POs, the dude had a great reg season if you extrapolate his stats over a full season. Also factor playing on Richards line 20 games and also with Richie on PP

  26. Stranger Nation on

    News Flash – Richards put down at track today. No buy-out needed. Suspect arrested: Vinny 2x, 2x Totasolini from Bayonne.

  27. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    The leafs would have a better matchup for the Rangers. That was an amazing last 110 seconds or so Bruins/Leafs Game 7.

    Moreover, imagine being a leafs fan dealing with that meltdown???

  28. Papa Bear — —

    The logic you presented today tremendous. There is not much logic to go around in these parts.

    I do not think anyone argued last year that the Rangers played 20 games and that was the lone reason they lost. Carp has a tendency to exaggerate and make blanket statements.

    I thought a couple reasons for the conference finals exit last season was that the team’s style of play had taken its physical toll on them, with only two days off in between playoff games on four occasions – the rest of the games having one day off in between – along with the allocation of ice time.

    If players did not get tired, then the coach could play his best players sixty minutes a night.

    The primary reason they lost last season was their inability to score goals. The same story this year. Lundqvist stands on his head, and he receives little support from the rest of the cast.

  29. the Rangers problems had to do with talent. Or, more precisely, offensive talent. We really did not have it. That is not on the coach. Yes the PP sucked. A good PP system should get you some goals even if your talent is average, at best. But with talent, you probably score some goals in abad PP system too.

  30. I think they have a pretty good core and not convinced they will buy out Richards (no flames please). Lots of new parts this year…takes time to find an equilibrium when the recipe keeps changing…first it was Nash, then his line mates shifted several times, then Kreider demoted and Miller brought up, Staal comes back and is laid up again, Asham is injured, Powe is injured, Gabby is traded for the Gaborettes (3 little pieces) and Clowse is brought in. Give them a full training camp and a month playing together, and I think we’ll have a team. Other problem is that we traded away a lot of AHL talent that was filling in admirably in 2011, everytime a key player went down, someone from Hartford filled in successfully. Think they’ll re-sign Clowe (agree 1 year deal only!) and try Richards for another season, hoping he had an off year. They motivated him to sign by telling him he would center Gaborik and he was rusty and had flu bug to start the season at shortened training camp…will be interesting to see if Sather and company give him another chance, or buy him out. Contrary to some, I think Hagelin is essential and the Rangers are not the same team without him, they would be crazy to trade him (hey I said this about Gaborik, I’m obviously not getting my info from Rod…)

  31. Stranger Nation on

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this blog offers a valuable outlet for those longing for good info on your New York Rangers. You get to see the variety of perspectives from people following the same team and watching the same games. When you take a step back, it really is amazing. Just goes to show that the past, present, and future are all viewed through the eyes of the beholder.

    Thank you Carp for providing the forum and facilitating, moderating, and “policing” the exchanges amongst the blueshirt faithful along with the rare wayward troll. Have fun on the links, stay out of the lumber yard and remember 99.99% of short puts don’t go in the hole.

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