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And then there was one: Rangers defeated

Jun 14, 2014, 1:53 AM EDT

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three Getty Images

For more entries in this series, click here.

Maybe it makes sense that the New York Rangers began the 2013-14 season with a nine-game road trip, as few things came easy to this team. They fought through a lot of obstacles to make it to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, yet the Los Angeles Kings finally represented a mountain they couldn’t climb.

Depending on the next steps this organization takes, this will either be a series they regret for years or one of those “learn how to lose before you learn how to win” moments.

Let’s take a look at the Rangers’ season as a whole and consider what it could mean for the future.

  • Henrik Lundqvist finally made it to the championship round of a postseason as the Rangers reached their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years. “King Henrik” really came through when the Rangers were on the brink of elimination, which should dispel most of the remaining notions about his inability to step up in big games. The Kings eventually ended his ridiculous run, yet he still impressed in defeat.
  • New York came into the 2013-14 season with serious free agent questions to answer. Ultimately, they re-signed Lundqvist and also gave Dan Girardi a contract extension. After failing to reach a compromise with Ryan Callahan, they traded him and what became two first-round picks for Martin St. Louis, who enjoyed some big playoff moments after early struggles with his new team.
  • Some might wonder if the Girardi extension will eventually haunt the Rangers. At least plenty of people on social media were hammering on the defensive-minded blueliner, to the point that there were jokes about the jokes.
  • Even with the big questions answered, there are plenty of support players who need new deals. From RFAs including regular season scoring leader Mats Zuccarello and rising young forward Chris Kreider to underrated UFA blueliner Anton Stralman, GM Glen Sather has some decisions to make. (See the full list here.)
  • The Rangers have to hope that Rick Nash‘s playoff luck turns around in the future. Health could certainly be a factor in an up-and-mostly-down season (he was limited to 65 regular season games), yet at 29 with a pricey deal that runs though 2017-18, there’s also the worry that his best days are behind him.
  • All things considered, Alain Vigneault’s first season as the Rangers’ head coach was a success. More and more, they’re playing his style of hockey, so there are reasons for optimism. That doesn’t mean it will be easy to avoid another 20-year drought between Stanley Cup Final appearances, however.

  1. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:56 AM

    ALL HAIL!! THE REBOUND KING HENRY!!!

    • nhlfan14 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:43 AM

      DETHRONED by a team that actually deserved the cup!

      • hawkeytown - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:48 AM

        The King is dead; Short live the new “Kings”……nice job LAK, congrats.

      • billiam55 - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        stay classy.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      Blomfeld where are you friend. High time you came on the threads and rightfully receive the congratulations due to the Kings and their fans. You were right and all the douche bags who were heckling you should eat humble pie and replace it in their mouth with one of their feet.

      • blomfeld - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        I am here friend, `personally` being fed grapes by the Goddess of Joy ! :) … anyway, please enjoy the following `demonstration of decency` march, which is offered to you courtesy of the `people` of which I am a member ! …. God speed friend ! :)

    • blomfeld - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:42 PM

      GOD`S WILL …

  2. rocoop - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    As a Kings fan, it felt like we had to beat Chicago in two series..This series was closer than 4-1..

  3. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:18 AM

    It’s hilarious that the NY Rangers Channel are ending their broadcast with clips of 1994.

    Grats guys! You’re as relevant as the NY Mets!

  4. broadstreetbeatdown - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:10 AM

    Can we please stop calling Lundqvist the King now? He should stick to GQ and Guitar World covers and Advil commercials.

    • billiam55 - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      ur not a ranger fan

    • skr213 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      stupid. the man was the only reason every single game against the kings wasn’t a blowout.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Jun 14, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        And that makes him the King how?

  5. zzalapski - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:17 AM

    If I were a Kings fan, I can think of better ways to celebrate the Stanley Cup victory than going online and posting the same d-bag comments on thread after thread. But, hey, YMMV.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      YMMV lols….

    • Professor Fate - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      Real Kings’ fans were out with their buds celebrating.

  6. rupp246 - Jun 14, 2014 at 6:53 AM

    The better team won but the rangers got screwed in games 2 and 6 by the refs and it hurts to lose that way . I want to thank the rangers for a great year. My daughter became a huge hockey fan during the playoffs and for that I am thankful. Congrats to the kings.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      games 6? huh, interesting… are you adding up the overtime minutes and coming up with a game six that way or is there some magical game 6 that we don’t know about?

    • Professor Fate - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      Yet in game 5 they were shut out by Quick for the last 59:06, essentially an entire game. The whining about the officiating is pathetic.

  7. billiam55 - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Every NYR fan should be proud of this team. they gave it everything they had, especially Lundqvist. They didn’t go out without a fight. It was an incredible playoff run for the first time in 20 years!!!! But Congrats LA! Can’t say more of how great of a team they are. Enjoy the cup! And heres to next season! #NHL 

  8. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    And Gaborik gets the last laugh … that must feel good.

    Best thing he ever did was get away from that organization.

  9. skr213 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    West coast bias they said. Rangers’ grit will beat the Kings’ “finesse” they said. Kings don’t have the stats this season they said. Well, I still hate the Kings, but all your East Coasters who were talking trash about the West need to re-evaluate. I think there were at least 3 or 4 teams from the West that would have beaten the Rangers in the finals.

  10. hawkeedawg - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Congrats to the Kings, very exciting and entertaining playoffs and the final was closer than it looks.

    Not a Ranger or Kings fan, but I have to comment on all the Lundqvist bashers.

    The King (in case you are too young, being named Henrik or Henry will almost always get you the nick name “King”) had better numbers than Quick did in both GAA and Save %

    Henrik
    .927 Save %
    2.14 GAA

    Jonathan
    .911 Save %
    2.58 GAA

    Source: http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20143ALLGAGAll&sort=savePercentage&viewName=savePercentageLeaders

    The Rangers could not score enough or the defence let them down. No way the Rangers even make it out of round 1 or 2 without the King.

    Some other sites are even saying that this could have been a case where a player on the losing team gets the Conn Smythe.

    Lunqvists #’s factually state that he was better and more consistent than Quick from game one of the play offs until the last one.

    • Professor Fate - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:27 AM

      “Lunqvists #’s factually state that he was better and more consistent than Quick from game one of the play offs until the last one.”

      I agree that the Rangers don’t get to the finals without Lundqvist, but he gave up 15 goals to Quick’s 10 in that 5-game series. GAA always beats save %. Quick won four games, Lundqvist won one. Your argument falls apart if you include the finals.

      What would Lundqvist’s stats look like if the Rangers had to go through the Western Conference like Quick did? The Rangers probably wouldn’t have made the finals in that scenario.

      The only shutout in the series was by Quick in the only game (3) the Rangers outshot the Kings. In game 5 Quick blanked the Rangers for the final 59:06 of play, essentially another full-game shutout.

      There is no question that Lundqvist is a great goalie, but the Kings were the better team and one big reason is that Quick is lights-out when the game’s on the line.

      • hawkeedawg - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:39 AM

        Professor, I agree with all you say. My point was just that I hate it when com mentors on this site say that Henrik is not a good goalie. His record in elimination games is out of this world. Again, The King did not loose the series, the team did.

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