It was not supposed to end this way for the New York Rangers.
After adding Patrick Kane to an already loaded offense, the Blueshirts and their fans were dreaming of winning the Stanley Cup, and rightfully so. Sure, it would take some work to make it happen, but after what they accomplished in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, many figured that they had what it takes to get to the next level.
Well, everyone was wrong. The New Jersey Devils knocked the Rangers out of the first round in seven games thanks to a 4-0 shutout victory in Game 7 at the Prudential Center on Monday night, May 1st.
Related Story: Rangers’ Offense Has Gone Missing At the Wrong Time
Much like was the case all series long, the Rangers were their own worst enemy in Game 7. For starters, the team did not play with any sense of urgency.
The Rangers gave up the puck a lot, made other careless plays with the puck, did not win any battles along the boards, and left their All-Star goaltender Igor Shesterkin out to dry. This is something they did a lot of in their losses in Games 3, 4, and 5 as well.
The team was also very lazy, especially in Game 7. The Devils’ first goal of the game is the perfect example of this, as Adam Fox got too lackadaisical with the puck and ended up turning it over not once but twice before Devils forward Michael McLeod put the puck in the back of the net.
The team’s big-time players did not show up when the team needed them the most. Where was Artemi Panarin in this series?
After leading the team in scoring in the regular season with 92 points, Panarin was a no-show at the most important time of the year. The same could be said of his performance in last year’s postseason as well.
It can also be said that the team’s second-leading scorer, Mika Zibanejad, did not do much in this year’s playoffs. He had just four points in this series after scoring 91 in the regular season.
And what about Patrick Kane? Kane was brought in to help the team succeed in the playoffs, and he did not do that one bit, as he had just one goal.
Some blame also needs to be put on Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant. After losing Games 3 and 4, he did not make any adjustments, and because of that, the Devils came out and manhandled the Blueshirts in Game 5.
All in all, it was a very disappointing performance from the Rangers. It could have been very different, but in the end, the Rangers have no one to blame but themselves.