Rangers Collapse Deemed 'Inevitable' After Game 5 Loss to Lightning in NHL Playoffs

Doric SamJune 10, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09:  Andrew Copp #18 of the New York Rangers and Erik Cernak #81 of the Tampa Bay Lightning exchange words in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 9, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Rangers' dream season is quickly shifting into a nightmare.

After a surprisingly strong regular season, New York put together a magical postseason run to find itself in the Eastern Conference Final against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers then took a 2-0 lead and it looked like the magic would continue, but it looks like they've ran out of luck.

New York is on the brink of elimination after losing to Tampa Bay 3-1 in Thursday's Game 5 at Madison Square Garden to fall behind 3-2 in the series.

The Rangers held a 1-0 lead in the second period before the Lightning tied it in the same frame. Tampa Bay winger Ondrej Palat scored with 1:50 remaining in the third period to give his team the lead for good. Brandon Hagel capped the scoring less than a minute later with an empty-netter.

New York was never expected to reach this point in the playoffs in the first place, and the team's inexperience has become glaring. After the game, fans online couldn't help but point out the predictability of the Rangers' collapse, with some believing it always was just a matter of time.

StraightTalkSports @StraightTalkSp1

Taking Lighting to win the series when they went down 2-0 was free juice. This Rangers collapse was inevitable. They’re just not a better team than the Lightning. Avs vs Lightning was always the way

Marc Luino @GiraffeNeckMarc

Rangers play some infuriating hockey. Lightning are so much better it’s crazy

Michael Rosenbloom @mdrosenbloom11

Youth of the rangers completely botched this series lightning just three peated

Philip Simpson @PSMcHenry11

That Loss is on the Rangers not the Lightning playing better 🤦‍♂️

wtf @WillyFrapps

Gut punch loss for the Rangers tonight. They really outplayed the Lightning in the 3rd. But unfortunately they couldn’t finish the opportunities. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NYR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NYR</a>

abe maxwell @maxwell_abrams

What a collapse by the rangers

Jay @Hugesportsfan75

than trying to win it.. I had the feeling the whole game. I knew it.. You could see it

Fat Grealish @notkingjames019

Going up 2 &amp; losing 4 straight is NASTY business you’ve really outdone yourselves this time <a href="https://twitter.com/NYRangers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NYRangers</a>

Bryce Lokus @BryceLokus

Rangers after taking a 2-0 lead <a href="https://t.co/lXvsAD3JVW">pic.twitter.com/lXvsAD3JVW</a>

Knicks Memes @KnicksMemes

Rangers had a 3-0 lead on a platter and now they're probably gonna lose in 6<br><br>I know we weren't even supposed to make it this far, but that hurts

The Rangers are a young team that is ahead of schedule. New York is built to be a title contender for years to come, but this year it is just overmatched against Tampa Bay.

It's hard to imagine that the Rangers will score the upset as the series moves back to Tampa Bay for Saturday's Game 6. The way both teams are playing, the Lightning have the clear edge. All signs point to New York waking up from its dream and facing the reality of preparing for next season.