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Canadiens and Flyers Runs Leaves Rangers Wondering What Could Have Been

Mike RappaportAnalyst IIMay 14, 2010

One goal. One point.

That is what kept the New York Rangers, who despite a disappointing season finished with a 7-1-2 record in their last 10 games, from making the playoffs.

Instead, the Philadelphia Flyers finished the season as the No. Seven seed, and are one win away from pulling off as impossible of a playoff victory possible, coming back from an 0-3 deficit, and going to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Montreal Canadiens, who finished the regular season as the No. Eight seed, have upset the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins behind great goaltending from Jaroslav Halak, and strong play from Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez.

Seeing how the playoffs have shaped up after two rounds, if the Rangers had won the shootout on the last day of the season, sent the Flyers home for the summer, and played Washington in the first round, it's very likely that the Rangers could have been in the same position as Montreal. 

In fact, there is one major similarity between the way Montreal has won in the playoffs, and how the Rangers won (and would have to have won in the playoffs) during the season.

There is one reason why the Habs are in the Eastern Conference Finals: Jaroslav Halak. 

His goaltending through the first two rounds has given Canadiens fans flashbacks of Patrick Roy in 1986 and Ken Dryden when they won four Stanley Cups in a row.

As well as Halak has played, many people would say that if they had a choice between Halak and Henrik Lundqvist, they would take the Rangers' goaltender. Lundqvist carried the team down the stretch, making 46 saves against the Flyers in the last game of the season.

Also, it appeared that the Rangers had finally figured out a winning formula during the last 10 games of the season.

The "4th line" of Brandon Prust-Artem Anisimov-Jody Shelley were providing huge contributions, and the rest of the lines were rolling.

Still, it was not enough, and now, the Rangers will watch as teams that were even with them during the last week of the regular season, will play for the Cup.

And it's all because of one game out of a possible 82. One point out of a possible 164.

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