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What Went Wrong: New York Rangers

Apr 24, 2011, 11:13 AM EDT

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Five Getty Images

The problems the Rangers ran into in their series with the Washington Capitals are pretty apparent. When you get knocked out of the playoffs in five games, it’s easy to put a big circle around the areas where the Rangers just flat out weren’t better than the Capitals in at all. That’s not going to stop us from pointing them out one last time however. Here’s our list of things that went horribly wrong for the Rangers in the playoffs.

1. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad power play
The Rangers had a lot of problems when on the man advantage. In 20 power play chances the Rangers scored just one goal, good for a 5% success rate. Stunningly, that’s better than two other teams in the post season (Pittsburgh at 4%, Boston at 0%) but unfortunately for the Rangers, they weren’t playing either of those teams. Without the power play producing, the Rangers offense wasn’t producing either as they scored just eight goals in five games. When you’re scoring that little against a team as good as Washington, you’re going to lose.

2. One grand missed opportunity
This might as well just be about Game 4 as that game turned out to be the make it or break it game of the series. The Rangers got the goals they were looking for getting out to a 3-0 lead before giving it all away in the third period and going on to lose in double overtime. With the Capitals holding a 2-1 series lead going into that game, a Rangers win in Game 4 would’ve changed the complexion of the series completely. Had the Rangers won, the pressure on Washington to not be chokey chokers would’ve been immense and doubt would’ve been cast on to their ability to win big games. Again. Instead, it’s a monumental collapse for New York and a heartbreaking defeat that turned Game 5 into a very loud funeral for the Rangers season.

3. Superstars playing too normal
Marian Gaborik was a no-show for New York. Sure he scored a goal in Game 4, but his overanxious play in double overtime turned into the game-winning goal for Washington. Brandon Dubinsky did about as well as you could expect given the circumstances but he had to play bigger. Being without Ryan Callahan didn’t help matters either. Defenseman Marc Staal‘s main duty was shadowing Alex Ovechkin and considering Ovechkin was the Caps’ top scorer with three goals and three assists, that just wasn’t good enough.

Then there’s poor Henrik Lundqvist. Hung out to dry by his defense in Game 4 and Game 5, holding strong through the first three games of the series and just unable to completely shut things down. Believe it or not, the injury to Martin Biron may have been a killer as Lundqvist had to play every game down the stretch just to get the Rangers into the playoffs. Lundqvist’s job is play tons of games anyhow, but a breather or two down the stretch could’ve helped out a lot.

4. Not enough talent
It’s nice to be able to make this assessment and be able to cite the team’s head coach when doing so. After their Game 5 loss, John Tortorella had this to say about where the team is at.

“We’re still in a process so we’ll just keep on going to try to get better, there are areas with our team that need to get better,” Tortorella said before adding, “I don’t think our team is fully built yet. You’ve got to remember what this Washington team was for a number of years, look how their team was built with the draft picks. So we’re not there yet, to be honest with you, we’re not as far as talent. We have to play a certain way but, again, we’re in the process. We’ll continue to build to try to find our way.”

He’s right. Certainly in this series the Rangers couldn’t compete with the Capitals and while the Rangers do have a virtually maxed out payroll, they’re not there yet and it showed in how things went down in the playoffs.

  1. nittanylion0 - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    This team could benefit from some extensive passing and defensive zone breakout lessons. Very sloppy on both.

  2. luckywi - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Here’s the thing about Maryann Gaborik: I have never heard him utter the phrase “I want to win the Stanley Cup”. Although I did hear him say he wanted to score more goals. And I did find it curious that he had those “concusion like” symptoms right before the trade deadline, and got better right after the trade deadline. The guy is a fraud.

  3. stakex - Apr 24, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    I think the Rangers do deserve some credit. Even though the series was 4-1… it was still very close, and that in of itself is an accomplishment for a team lacking any serious offensive talent playing against one of the most (if not the most) tallented team in the league.

    I know its hard to say a series is “close” when it ends 4-1… but the reality of it is one blown call and a couple bad bounces made the series seem much more like a blowout then it actually was. If the ref blows the play dead in game one like she should have, the Rangers very well might have won and put some fear/pressure into Washington. Or if Washington didn’t get a couple good bounces (and the Rangers didn’t choke) in game four, the series could have been 2-2 (or even 3-1 Rangers). It really is as close as one blown call and two bad bounces.

    Alas, the Rangers still lose so it doesn’t really matter. In the end the better, more talented team did in fact win. The future for the Rangers is bright though, and if they could pick up some scoring tallent (and trade Gaborik)… they will be a serious threat next year.

  4. derpdederpdederp - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    “What Went Wrong: New York Rangers”

    hmm let me think…how about they got beat by a better team? yeah that sounds about right

  5. riles11 - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    The power play was awful and they could not make the first pass on thebreakout. Not the fault of coaches. Players need to look at themselves. Need someone who can score. Gaborik is weak and does not like to mix it up in front of the net. Too much flash. Needs to show some toughness. Staal stepped up on defense so the rest of them need to do the same thing. Not have Del Zotto in the mix hurt as well. There are also internal problems with certain players on the team. They have small factions on the team (groups) not one unit who sticks together. Need to get rid of some (cancers) of problems. Cut the cancers out now and the team will improve…

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