Devils destroy Rangers in Game 5 to push New York to the brink of elimination

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 27: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers exchanges words with Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 27, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 27: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers exchanges words with Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 27, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 27: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers exchanges words with Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 27, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 27: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers exchanges words with Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 27, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

New York was utterly dismantled tonight. There’s not much more you can say about that. They were beaten all over the ice. 4-0 was the final score as the Rangers were shut out for the first time in this series. They now have no more room for error. If the Devils beat them at Madison Square Garden in game six, the season is over. New York will need to win both games six and seven if they are to advance.

Start with the obvious here. Your New York Rangers started with 10 goals in the first two games. New York had a book on Vitek Vanecek. They were dominant and the Devils looked lost at sea. Ever since the Devils made the switch to Akira Schmid, the Blueshirts have fallen silent. Three goals in three games is how you go from 2-0 up in a series to 3-2 down and the Rangers showed us that in spades.

This Rangers powerplay that was so scary during the regular season started the series 4 for 7. They scored 4 goals on 7 powerplay attempts. Since game three, this powerplay hasn’t tallied. They have had 13 attempts and they have come up empty-handed each time. Whether that is due to ineptitude or the Devils making penalty-killing changes, that is open for conversation but this is not good enough.

Igor Shesterkin was the Rangers’ best player in this one. He may as well have been the only one in the building. I fear to imagine what this result would have been if the Russian goaltender was not in attendance. This was not a good game and if the squad is not skated into the ground in practice, something has gone wrong. That was unacceptable. This team looks defeated. If they play like that at the Garden, the season will be over.

Game Six is at Madison Square Garden and it will be an 8 PM Eastern puck drop on Sunday. If the Rangers cannot figure out the issues they are sustaining, it will be a good way to end the season in front of the home fans. New Jersey has all the momentum and has won the last 3. On the other hand, we’ve seen the Rangers mount comebacks. Last year, they did it to Pittsburgh. They need to do it again here.