2011 NHL Playoffs: Rangers Eliminated by Capitals in Game 5
Well, Ranger fans, this concludes another season of Blueshirts hockey. Tough pill to swallow in some cases, and in others, not so much. Let's break the series down.
Coaches and players always preach how important the power play is, and it was never more evident than in this five-game series. The Rangers were a measly 1-for-20. Yes, you read that right.
It can be argued that the Rangers could have had the edge in this series had they scored two or three more power-play goals, especially in Game 4, when they went 0-for-7.
You can't pass up opportunities to score on a team like the Washington Capitals, especially with a horrid offense like the Rangers.
Speaking of that horrid offense, you can't win scoring eight goals in five games. Give the Rangers credit for only allowing the Capitals 13.
Something has to change for the Rangers next season, whether that is in the form of Brad Richards or Patrick Sharp or whomever general manager Glen Sather brings in. This team needs offense, and they need it badly.
Too many Rangers didn't show up to give this team a chance to win, namely Marian Gaborik, who was brought here to score goals. He had a horrendous ending to the season, scoring just one goal in his last 12 games or so, dating back to the regular season. That just cannot happen.
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I don't think it will happen, but don't be shocked if the Rangers try to ship him out this offseason. His play that ended Game 4 cemented a sour taste in the eyes of many Ranger fans regarding Gaborik.
I know he's young, but I was expecting a lot more from Derek Stepan. After having such a strong rookie year, I thought he'd had a solid playoff, but he didn't. He still has a bright future ahead of him, but had a poor playoff debut.
I wouldn't say he had a bad series, but Brandon Dubinsky has to be more of a force. He had two goals, but needed to do more. He, along with Artem Anisimov, who was invisible, suffered from not playing with Ryan Callahan.
The last Ranger I'm going to point the finger at is Bryan McCabe. He was brought here to man the power play and shoot from the point, and he did neither in the five games. He was hesitant to fire the puck, and when he did, nine times out of 10 it was blocked.
He's slow getting back in his own zone on top of it. I still don't regret the trade, but I wish a veteran like him, who said himself this could be one of his last chances at a Stanley Cup, would have been more of a leader and a force.
Now to the positives. This series showed how great Henrik Lundqvist really is. There were a handful of goals that were not his fault and therefore are not blameable.
I really do wish the Rangers won Game 4 if not for the reason that the Kings' breakaway stonewall on Alex Ovechkin would be more fondly remembered.
The series also showed how great this young Ranger defensive core really is. Dan Girardi was the best Ranger. Period. This guy has lived in Marc Staal's shadow since Staal came up.
Girardi blocked everything. Staal also had a great series playing well over 30 minutes a game, but Girardi stole the show.
Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer looked like veterans on the blue line. Even Matt Gilroy, who I don't think will return next season, had a strong series.
He shows how good of an offensive defenseman he can be when he's playing with confidence. I wish he joined the rush in the regular season the way he did in the postseason.
The Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle and Sean Avery line was the most effective, and that's a problem. I'm a huge fan of all three, but this line cannot be your most effective tandem.
Ruslan Fedotenko also had a very strong series, with coach John Tortorella comparing him to Callahan. That tryout contract seems like a steal in hindsight.
Obviously the loss is disappointing, but the Rangers had a decent series. Two of Washington's wins came in extended overtimes, with another (Game 2) coming in a two-minute burst.
This Ranger team is still a few pieces away, but expect them back next season.
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