FeaturedNew York Rangers

Magnifique Henrique

Congratulations to the New Jersey Devils on a well played series. As a Rangers fan, there’s no way to sugarcoat how the season ended. The Rangers blew two multiple goal comebacks in back to back games. The Devils were the better team for the bulk of the series and were incredibly resilient. Most teams would have gone in to the tank after blowing a three goal and a two goal lead in back to back games. But the Devils found a way thanks to guys named Carter and Henrique.


It was another slow start for the Rangers in Game 6 at the Prudential Center. The Devils went back to their 1st period scoring ways. 10:05 in to the opening frame, Ryan Carter, who scored the game-winner in Game 5, picked up where he left off with his fourth goal of the playoffs to give New Jersey an early 1-0 lead. Almost four minutes later, an Ilya Kovalchuk slap shot made it 2-0 on the power play. The Rangers had squandered yet another opportunity to jump out and at least be competitive from the start.

The tide turned for the Blueshirts midway through the 2nd period. After killing off another Devils power play midway through the 2nd period, Ruslan Fedotenko found the back of the net to get the Rangers on the board. Four minutes later, Ryan Callahan (he seemed to heat up just a little too late in the playoffs) redirected a Dan Girardi shot to even the game at 2. The game seemed to slow down from there. Both teams went in to conservative mode after that for the remainder of the 2nd period and for the entire 3rd period. For the first time in this series, there was bonus hockey.

Other than a Game 7 overtime, there’s nothing more exciting in hockey than overtime in an elimination game. For those of you that were getting excited for up and down hockey with great saves being made in both ends, you were disappointed. Travis Zajac won the opening faceoff for the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk fired two shots on Lundqvist within 7 seconds of one another about a minute in. On the 2nd shot, the puck came loose, none of the Rangers could get a good clearing attempt on it, and Adam Henrique buried the rebound to send the New Jersey Devils to their 5th Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history.

There will be plenty of talk about the Devils over the next couple of days, but they absolutely deserve to be where they are right now. They survived a 7 game series with a better-than-expected Panthers team. They dominated the Flyers in the 2nd round. And they outplayed the Rangers for pretty much the entire series.

As for the Rangers, the season was a success. It may sound weird to read that now, but it was a big step for the organization. It absolutely stinks to have their season end in the fashion it did, and hurts even more that it was at the hand of the Devils. But I find it hard to believe that any Rangers fan wouldn’t have signed up for their season ending in overtime of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals back in September. Other than in 2007, when the Rangers lost in heartbreaking fashion to Buffalo in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Rangers haven’t had a team that has actually had a chance to make a deep run since 1997. The Rangers played too many close games in the playoffs and they wore down. A true championship caliber team will win a 5-1 game or will finish a series before seven games. The Rangers didn’t seem to have that extra gear to kick in to when they needed a boost. There’s also a ton of young talent on this roster to be excited about (Hagelin, Kreider, McDonagh, Del Zotto to name a few) and they will be a top contender in the East next season. There is an entire off-season ahead where changes can be made, but the Rangers will be a top contender in the East again next season. The question is how will they respond with a bulls-eye on their backs in 2012-13.

Adam Bernard
I'm a seasoned veteran in the sports media field and a lifelong Rangers fan (hoping to relive 1994 at some point - I couldn't fully appreciate a championship at 11 years old). Hockey dominates my life for the most part: I also root for the Blackhawks & Kings, I've been lucky enough to split season tickets for the Blueshirts with a good friend since the lockout, and I'm a defenseman on a local roller hockey team. Away from the rink, I enjoy hiking, hard rock music, and spending time with my dog Astro.
Back to top button