New York Rangers Game Six Thoughts: Season over

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Rangers fell 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, ending their season. Let’s take a look at the disappointing ending.

-The Senators won this series by coming through when they needed to. Ottawa scored late goals in Games Two and Five, and scored early goals in Game Six. When the big goals were needed, it was Ottawa who came up clutch. That was the difference in the series.

Again, history does not matter. History would have pointed to the Rangers coming up with those goals. But they did not, and the season is over.

-This loss is a result of the Rangers failing to overcome the Rangers. No, that is not a typo. In Games Two and Five, New York failed to overcome Alain Vigneault’s disastrous coaching. In Game Six, the Rangers played Senators hockey for two periods, then couldn’t come back from the deficit they fell into.

So many Rangers failed to show up for the first two periods of Game Six. That’s inexcusable. It’s a split between being on the coaching staff and the players, but regardless it happened. Teams can’t beat other teams when they have to beat themselves too.

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Game Action:

-Ottawa scored first thanks to an impressive deflection by Mike Hoffman. However, the Rangers should be embarrassed about the goal. Marc Staal roamed around without picking up any particular player, while Nick Holden stood still next to Henrik Lundqvist.

That’s all he did. He stood there.

Hoffman used the empty space to deflect the puck, boom, 1-0 Senators. So it goes.

-After the Rangers failed to score on multiple power-play opportunities (sound familiar?) it was the Senators who scored next. After a prolonged shift in their own zone with Tanner Glass, Nick Holden, and Marc Staal all on the ice, the disastrous defensive duo exited the ice.

Despite the superior Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith taking over, the Rangers managed to set themselves up for failure yet again. The fourth line failed to get back after the puck left New York’s zone, leaving Ottawa on an odd man rush. Mark Stone made no doubt about it, 2-0 Senators.

-Oh, and Nick Holden received power-play time. The Rangers possess an endless amount of skill players, yet Nick Holden saw power-play time in an elimination playoff game. Unreal.

-Alain Vigneault decided to challenge the goal, an awful decision. The play was clearly onside, and New York forfeited their timeout as a result of the failed challenge.

-New York pulled within one goal after a long stretch of the Rangers trying and failing to enter the Senators’ zone. Mats Zuccarello sprung Mika Zibanejad for a breakaway, and Zibanejad flipped it past Craig Anderson. The goal came following a fantastic penalty kill by New York.

Zibanejad will be a terrific Ranger for years to come. While Derick Brassard is a fantastic player, the Rangers got the better player and a draft pick that helped them receive Brendan Smith. That’s a deal you make every time.

-Speaking of Brendan Smith, the Rangers’ defenseman played his worst hockey as a Ranger. Smith was on the ice for two of the Senators’ goals against, playing a significant part in both goals ending up in the back of the net.

-New York jumped out of the gate to start the third period. It was Mika Zibanejad wreaking havoc on the Senators once again, this time springing Chris Kreider for a breakaway goal. Kreider had an awful series, so seeing him score sparked some optimism.

-However, the Rangers simply couldn’t get the puck past Craig Anderson for the remainder of the game. New York threw everything they had at the net, coming close multiple times. In the end it was not enough to overcome their slow start, and the season ended. Just like that.

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Moving Forward

-Falling to the Senators will go down as the most disappointing result in the Henrik Lundqvist era. Of course losing in the Stanley Cup was worse, but the Los Angeles Kings had an equal or superior roster to that of the Rangers.

New York boasted a better roster than the Ottawa Senators, but simply couldn’t make the big plays. They couldn’t stop the Senators from scoring the big goals, due mostly to poor decisions by the coaching staff.

The power-play was brutal, and here we are. The season is over.

-While Henrik Lundqvist deserves better, giving up five goals twice and three goals once isn’t going to cut it. It’s not his fault, but he’s not blameless.

-We’ll have more on this in the coming days, but I personally believe Alain Vigneault and Scott Arniel should be fired. Jeff Beukeboom I could go either way on. The coaching staff put the team in position to fail, and while the players were not outstanding, they also were playing against themselves in a sense as well.

Should Vigneault be fired, he should be picked up by another organization. His contract extension should not mean keeping him on board.

-Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller went goalless in the playoffs, but Hayes looked impressive at times. Miller was not himself all post-season long. The Rangers’ depth was their greatest strength over opposing teams, and not having those two playing their best hockey was costly at times.

Next: Rangers will play in 2018 Winter Classic

-Moving forward here at Blue Line Station we will have all angles of the series defeat covered, as well as the upcoming off-season. Thanks for following along during the regular season, and make sure to tune in tomorrow for my further thoughts on this embarrassing series exit.