I wrote a story about how Game 5 was the most important game for the Rangers and they failed to show up during that game. They won Game 6 and gave their fans hope that they could carry that into a Game 7 victory. However, Game 7 was exactly the same as Game 5 and the Rangers failed to show any kind of effort and lost 4-0 and their season has come to a disappointing end.
There truly aren’t many words to describe the kind of game the Rangers played tonight. The only player who remembered that there was a game tonight was Igor Shesterkin and he is the reason this series went to seven games anyway. Everyone else just coasted along and did not even try at all during this game. The Devils were the faster, hungrier, and more aggressive team.
They wanted the win and the Rangers gave it to them. Now, we enter this long offseason and there will be plenty of questions about the future of the Rangers. Will players be traded? Will coaches be fired? We will have to wait and see.
There are not many positives to take away from this series. The only two players who showed up during this series were Shesterkin and Chris Kreider. Shesterkin was the only reason the Rangers went to Game 7 and he was never an issue in this series. Kreider was the only guy scoring goals when they needed to be scored.
The other top players were nowhere to be found. And while Kreider did not score in a few games of this series, he was the only Rangers skater who showed any heart and passion in these games. His linemates became allergic to scoring goals and the rest of the depth provided no offense.
The Kid Line combined for two goals all series while Lafreniere had zero points in seven games. The Fourth line provided some energy but was ineffective most of the time. The main issue for the Rangers’ lack of scoring was that their two leading scorers became invisible in this series.
Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin were no-shows in these games. Sure, Zibanejad scored one goal in Game 6, but other than that he was useless on the offensive side of the puck. Panarin is a whole other story. Besides two assists in Game 1, he was left pointless in the next six and was a nonfactor in each game. The highest-paid player on the team was useless in the games that mattered the most.
No one will care about his 92-point regular season because, for the second straight year, he was a disappointing playoff performer. Many fans want him to be traded so they can use the cap space to bring in other players, but he has a No-Move Clause and it is not likely for him to waive it. The Rangers are locked in with this core for the foreseeable future and unless the cap jumps significantly, the Rangers are most likely going to run it back with this group next year.
The question now is, should the Rangers bring back Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane? Some are saying yes and others are saying no. They both had decent showings in the playoffs, but nothing spectacular. If you had to choose one, Tarasenko would be the best option because Kane was just slow and could not keep up with the Devil’s players.
If the Rangers want to move one from them, they should look to bring in players who play with speed because that is what cost them this series. The Devil’s speed overwhelmed them and they could not keep up. While it did not cost much to bring them in, this season was considered a failure and it would hurt to see them both walk into free agency. The Rangers should at least consider bringing one of them back if they are willing to take a team-friendly deal.
What a difference a year makes. This time last season, the Rangers were gearing up to play Game 1 against the Penguins. One year later, they are out of the playoffs altogether. This is one of the players for not showing up when they needed to. The big stars of the team were ghosts and their mistakes cost them this game and the series. Changes are going to be made and it will be a long offseason ahead. What does the future hold for the Rangers? Only time will tell.