Despite being down 3-2 in the series, the Rangers posted back-to-back shutouts to come back and win the series.
Now that it's over, what is the report card for the New York Rangers' first-round playoff victory? The Rangers, as a whole, had a great series, particularly after Game 2.
What did the Rangers excel in? What areas did they struggle in?
Read on to see each aspect of the team graded.
The Rangers offense, despite a five-goal outburst in Game 7, did not perform too well in the series. They scored 16 goals in all, but five of those were in one game. Through the first six games, they scored just 11 times, including being shutout in Game 2.
Rick Nash did not score a goal. Brad Richards scored just once, as did Ryan Callahan. Instead, the Rangers got their big contributions from their role players. In Game 7, Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt and Mats Zuccarello all had goals. Asham had two in the series, and Brian Boyle added two as well.
The biggest star, however, was Derick Brassard.
Playing in his first playoff series, Brassard was dominant, scoring two goals and adding seven assists. He ended the series on a five-game point streak and made many spectacular passes. He also had the game-winning goal in Game 6.
Still, it wasn't a great performance on offense for the Rangers. The stars were held mostly in check, and there were some games where Rick Nash looked invisible. Brad Richards spent the last two games on the fourth line and did not make any impact at all in the series.
If anything, he looked like a shell of his normal self.
If the Rangers are going to advance past the Bruins, then Nash needs to pick his game up. The power play, which will be discussed in a later slide, was abysmal and needs a major overhaul.
However, the five-goal performance is very encouraging. The Rangers controlled the puck for most of the game, and they turned an active forecheck into offense. They were blocking shots and bringing the puck up the ice with authority, and all four lines scored.
If this is a sign of things to come, then the Bruins should watch out. However, given their history and given their lack of scoring throughout the series, then this should only be taken as an aberration, for now.
All that said, the Rangers deserve a "B-" grade. They showed some life, and scored enough goals to win a series, but they were not consistent enough to earn a higher grade.
The Rangers defense was absolutely outstanding. They held the Caps to just 11 goals in seven games. Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were held to just one goal each.
Every player was truly fantastic, but they were led by Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. The top pair simply shut down Ovechkin, playing with solid positioning and an edge.
In addition, John Moore proved to be a fantastic trade deadline addition with his performance. He played under 20 minutes per game, but John Tortorella started to trust him more and more. He's a fantastic skater and looks a lot like Ryan McDonagh on the ice.
Even Steve Eminger, filling in for injured Marc Staal, played terrific.
The Rangers defense, as a unit, plays with tremendous technique. The players are always in the right place at the right time, and they were always quick to clear the puck out. They play physically, and do a decent job of keeping the crease clear.
Holding the high-powered Caps to just 11 goals, and only three power-play goals, is really impressive. Girardi and McDonagh do not get a lot of press, but they should be considered as one of the best defensemen in the game.
This is a strong unit, and it helps make Henrik Lundqvist's life a lot easier. The players are not stars, but they did yeoman's work in keeping the Caps off the board. For this, they certainly deserve an "A" grade.
There is no goaltender playing better than Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers goalie had back-to-back shutouts as the team came from behind to beat the Capitals and advance to the next round.
In all, he let up just 12 goals and survived wave after wave of Capitals attacks.
Without Lundqvist, the Rangers would not have won. He finished with a ridiculous .947 save percentage against one of the best offensive teams in the league, as well as stopping his last 62 shots he faced.
A lot of ink has been spilled praising the virtues of Lundqvist. He is nominated for another Vezina Trophy and is absolutely on fire. He is the backbone of the Rangers and is the reason that they have a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
He's the best goalie in the world, without a doubt. He holds the keys to the Rangers' playoff destiny, and so far, he's doing pretty well.
It's safe to say that Lundqvist has earned the "A" grade that he gets for this series.
The special teams story is two-sided.
On one hand, the Rangers let up just three power-play goals in 16 chances against the league's best power play. They were disciplined and did a good job of getting in passing lanes and blocking shots.
On the other hand, the Rangers scored just two power-play goals in 28 chances. Yes, that's a beyond dismal 7.1 percent conversion rate. Yikes.
It's not just that the Rangers' power play was bad. It was beyond bad. Far too often, there was zero puck movement and any shot was easily stopped. They spent more time retrieving the puck than getting shots in net.
In hindsight, it's rather remarkable that the Rangers were able to advance, given the dire straits of the power play. Going forward, the Rangers will need to fix the power play if they want to keep advancing.
The penalty kill really did bail out the power play. Even though the Rangers weren't scoring on the power play, they were not letting the Caps score either.
They made life tough for Mike Green on the point, as he really had nowhere to shoot. Ovechkin didn't have much room either, and there were no rebound attempts.
By excelling on the penalty kill, it made the ineptitude of the power play easier to swallow. That said, that will most likely not be able to continue. The Rangers will have to start scoring power-play goals to advance, regardless of how good the penalty kill is.
All things considered, the excellent penalty kill and the dismal power play cancel each other out, giving the Rangers a solid "C" grade on special teams for the series.