Opinion: Why the Rangers Got Knocked Out of the Playoffs

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Everything seemed to be in place for the New York Rangers when it came to making a run at the Stanley Cup in the 2024 postseason.

They had one of the league’s top point producers in Artemi Panarin. They had one of the league’s best goaltenders in Igor Shesterkin and their special teams were more than special all regular season long.

This was a team that finished first in the Metropolitan Division and also won the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best team in the regular season. Winning the Cup was the next logical step for this team.

Unfortunately, the Rangers never got to that step as the Florida Panthers took them down in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. While it looked like an evenly matched series on paper, it was anything but that if one was watching closely.

For starters, the Rangers hardly generated any offense in this series. The Rangers scored just 12 goals in six games and were outshot in every game.

Artemi Panarin was practically invincible against the Panthers. He had just one goal and four points after a regular season where he had 49 goals and 120 points.

The same can be said of Mika Zibanejad. He had just two assists in the series, both of which came in the team’s 3-2 loss in Game 5.

Chris Kreider was also an offensive enigma for the Blueshirts. After catapulting his team into the Conference Finals with a hat trick in Game 6 of the second round against the Carolina Hurricanes, Kreider had just one goal and an assist against the Panthers.

Together, Panarin, Zibanejad, and Kreider are considered the Rangers’ big three. Well, the trio combined for just eight points in a series where they needed to be at their absolute best to give their team a chance to get to the Stanley Cup Final.

Related Post: New York Rangers Stars Wilting In Florida Panthers Heat

Another area of the team’s game that whimpered at the wrong time was their power play. They had numerous chances in this series to convert and they were able to do so just once back in Game 4.

The Rangers had the league’s third-best power play in the league in the regular season and their production with the man advantage continued to about the middle of their series with the Hurricanes. After that, it was non-existent and it ended up hurting the team more than helping them.

The play of both defensemen Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller was also a huge problem for the Rangers in their series with the Panthers. They were constantly caught out of position, took untimely penalties, were careless with the puck, and were a liability every time they were out on the ice.

In terms of Trouba, he did not play like a real leader. As mentioned above, he took bad penalties (10 penalty minutes), tried to land too many big hits instead of focusing on the puck, and looked lost on the ice.

The same can be said of Miller. He may have a long reach and a great stride, but more often than not, he makes too many mistakes that either end up in the back of the net or lead to a scoring opportunity for the opposition.

Another area that needs to be further examined is Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette’s use or non-use of forward Matt Rempe. When Rempe plays, he brings energy, he forechecks, he backchecks, he hits, and he plays the kind of style that is needed to win playoff games.

Rempe was a healthy scratch for two of the team’s six games against the Panthers. When he did play, he had a positive impact and did not cause the team any harm, so it is hard to figure out why Laviolette did not play him more or use him in Game 6.

Speaking of style of play, the Rangers struggle to play a playoff style of hockey. This is a team that has accomplished a ton since the 2011-12 season and yet, they never seem to be able to capture hockey’s Holy Grail.

The reason for that is that their roster is not made up of guys who can play a rough-and-tumble style of hockey in the postseason. The Blueshirts have a lot of highly skilled players and while those players are important to have, a team needs to have guys who can go after loose pucks in the corners, win battles in front of the net, and stand in the slot and create havoc for opposing defenses and goaltenders.

Lastly, Rangers’ General Manager Chris Drury was part of the reason why the Rangers got bounced from the playoffs. His acquisitions of Alex Wennberg and Jack Roslovic proved to be useless as neither of them helped offensively or contributed significantly to where the Rangers got to or did not get to this postseason.

Drury needs to take this offseason to take a long and hard look at his roster because the team he has right now does not know how or have what it takes to win when it matters most. Sure, having a great regular season is nice, but in the end, it means nothing if you do not finish the year by raising the Cup.

In this weeks episode Will Wright from Blueseatblogs comes on to discuss the Trouba situation, Prospects, Mika and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest Will Wright
  2. There's more to come……….Right ?
  3. Guest Colin Stephenson
  4. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  5. Many Directions, One Goal

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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