In typical Rangers fashion, it took all 82 games of the season PLUS some help on the side, but the Rangers have found their way into the playoffs. Tortorella went on Hockey Night Live after Tampa defeated the Hurricanes and discussed how the players deserve a lot of credit for the way they got into the playoffs. For every bad break, the Rangers found a way to make up for it. We clearly don’t have a slew of talent. For most of the season Steve Eminger was the “veteran” on defense. We’ve dealt with a ridiculous number of injuries. This is a team that didn’t let bad games or bad breaks get in the way of their goal. The Rangers got into the playoffs on effort and effort alone. This year feels different than previous years. The previous two seasons we wanted the Rangers to get into the playoffs simply because we’re Rangers fans, but this year it was more than that. We not only wanted them in, but we knew they deserved to be in.
This is a team that found ways to win even with half of the lineup out.
This is a team that led the league in blocked shots and were 4th in hits.
This is a team that had five 20 goal scorers, none of whom were over 28 years and only 1 of whom was over 26.
This is a team that saw Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust combine for 34 goals despite only having 18 combined over their careers prior to the season.
This is a team that saw Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh, two guys who weren’t even in the lineup at the start of the season, logging big minutes down the stretch and scoring two game winning goals within the last few games of the season.
This is a team that saw Dan Girardi and Brandon Prust get absolutely abused on a nightly basis yet rarely miss a shift.
This is a team that saw rookies come into the league with the attitude of veterans.
This is a team that saw our captain Chris Drury salvage what was a lost season for him by scoring one of the most important goals of the year in his first game back from injury.
This is a team that deserves to be in the playoffs. Period. Not getting in tonight would not be a reflection of what the Rangers did wrong this season but a reflection of what bad luck can do. We can start worrying about the Capitals a few days from now. For now, let’s enjoy this young, energetic team and what they’ve achieved. I’d be remiss to not mention Lundqvist, who, as we needed him to, anchored this team, especially down the stretch. Chris Drury talked about how a bunch of the players watched the game together. Drury said, “I never want to be watching a game with Henrik again…he’s intense!” I think that just about sums it up. Let’s get ready for Washington!