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Rangers/Bruins series: Where it was lost and where it could have been won

Barton Silverman/The New York Times

Barton Silverman/The New York Times

The Rangers ran out of steam yesterday, and bowed out of the 2013 playoffs with a disappointing 4-1 series loss to the Bruins. Many were excited to play the Bruins because of the regular season success over the past few years, but this Rangers club was not up to the task of making this series interesting. The Rangers were, for the second year in a row, victimized by the opposition’s fourth line. The Bruins depth is what beat the Rangers.

The Bruins did get their fair share of luck (see: Game Three game winning goal), but that wasn’t the only factor to their series win. They were better in every facet of the game, and they beat a very vulnerable Rangers team. Unlike against the Caps, the Rangers were simply unable to get key plays when they needed them, and are now waiting until next season.

Where it was lost: Depth

The first reason why this series was lost is also the most obvious reason why this series was lost. The Rangers simply did not have the depth to deal with their multiple injuries suffered. While the Bruins were able to slot in Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, and Matt Bartkowski, the Rangers needed to dress Roman Hamrlik, Micheal Haley, and Kris Newbury. This isn’t a matter of coaching, it’s a matter of not matching up on paper after the top-six.

Where it was lost: Board play

The second reason why this was lost is the one that none of us expected. The Rangers were absolutely dominated along the boards all series, and all playoffs. However, the Bruins are made to capitalize off board-wins, and it burned the Rangers. Claude Julien uses a very passive 1-2-2 and 1-4 forecheck to stifle the opposition’s offensive flow. The way to beat that is to dump and chase, win the puck battle deep, and cycle to get chances. This is exactly what happened on the lone Rangers goal from yesterday. That was the first and only time we saw them win a board battle and turn it into a goal. Very un-Ranger like.

Where it was lost: Point shots

This is two-fold. As we pointed out yesterday, the Krug goal was a product of Steve Eminger being out of position, which forced the forward (Ryan Callahan) to cover the slot man lower in the zone, which left the weak side point open for a one-timer. Those breakdowns happened early and often in this series. The second part is the relatively ineffective nature of the Rangers strong-side overload in the defensive zone (note: Board play mentioned above), which meant more time collapsing into a low-zone box. The Rangers keep their forwards around the top of the circle when in the low-zone collapse, which leaves a lot of room for point movement and shots. The Bruins countered that very well, and at some points even setup in an umbrella powerplay formation at even strength to take advantage. Claude Julien is one smart coach.

*-Worth noting that when the Bruins set up in the offensive zone with three men up high, the Rangers forwards played much higher and forced the puck down low, where the Bruins were outnumbered. This (the umbrella formation for the Bruins at even strength) only happened once or twice in the series, but it was something that caught my eye.

Where it could have been won: The penalty kill

The Rangers are known for being beasts on the penalty kill, and the Bruins are known for being like the Rangers on the powerplay (awful). But the Bruins wound up with a conversion rate higher than 30% with the man advantage in this series. The Rangers found a way to turn a great matchup in their favor into a crushing defeat.

Where it was lost: Injuries

Ok, don’t jump on me for this one. I know injuries are never a reason to lose a series, but this played into the depth factor mentioned above. The Rangers were without a top pairing defenseman (Marc Staal), a top-nine physical winger who dominates the boards (Ryane Clowe), and a top penalty killer and major fourth line player (Darroll Powe) for the entire series. They were without another top-four defenseman for the final two games (Anton Stralman). Those are all key injuries that the Rangers didn’t have the depth to slot in viable replacements.

Where it could have been won: Defensive miscues

This is another aspect that is two-fold. The Rangers had way too many defensive miscues on their end, which led directly to several B’s goals. Those are covered in our goal breakdowns. The other aspect is that the Bruins were playing three rookie defensemen, and the Rangers never took advantage of this. They never made Krug, Hamilton, or Bartkowski feel pressure in their own end.

Where it was lost: Scoring

The Rangers couldn’t score. They got nothing from Brad Richards, who was eventually a healthy scratch for the final two games of the series. They got little from Rick Nash on the scoreboard. They got nothing from Carl Hagelin. They got little from Ryan Callahan. When the leading scorer is Derick Brassard, you have issues.

It does make you wonder though. What would have happened if the Rangers stole Game One in overtime? The entire complexion of the series changes. Do the Bruins win the next four straight? Is there added pressure on the kids that forces them into making turnovers? That’s the one game where I think the entire series could have changed had the Rangers came out with a victory. Alas, it was not meant to be. The Bruins were the better team throughout the entire series, and they made quick work of the Rangers.

16 Responses to “Rangers/Bruins series: Where it was lost and where it could have been won”

  1. Mikeyyy says:

    That’s a lot of aspects of a game to lose.

    What kind of moves can we expect in the offseason?

  2. Walt says:

    Great write up, but the fact of the matter is the Bruins were a better team, and they man handeled us.

    As for Nash not scoring, he had a shadow named Chara, so with that being the case, the scoring load should have been picked up by the other forwards. It seemed the Bruins got hot at the right time, and we chilled as a team.

    I also believe that we as fans saying we what the Bruins, under estimated how much talent they had. They also read the press, and that could have given them a little extra incentive to play us hard???

    I don’t know about anyone else on this site, but I will root for the Bruins against Cindy, and Igor. That team, it’s players, ownership, everything about them is smug, and I hope they lose!!!!!

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I think the optimism vs. the Bruins from Ranger fans (myself included) was due to the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the team and the fact that they just hadn’t been playing well going into the playoffs.

      Well they found their consistency, looked like a completely different team than they did against the Maple Leafs and found a player named Krug to come out of nowhere and become the biggest impact player on either side.

  3. RocketRoy says:

    Glen Sather’s Lasting Imprint…On Futility!!!!
    Just a quik look back on Sathers decisions on the Rangers next big Super Star…I know I will forget some..BUT..Here we Go..Scott Gomez & Chris Drury…Wade Redden….Marion Gaborik…Brad Richards….Rick Nash…I am convinced the Rangers need to clean house, start with a young, energetic GM, and let him right the ship.

    • Dave says:

      Right the ship? They went to the Conference Finals last year and the 2nd round in a lockout shortened season. What else do you want?

      • RocketRoy says:

        I myself, and hope all fans, and especially the management of any of my (4) favorite teams goal when each season starts, is to get to the FINALS, anything less to me is failure….We last drank from Lord Stanleys Cup in June 1994…I for one do not think Glen Sather is the GM to get us back there…PERIOD…!!!!

        • Dave says:

          Baby steps. This team was nowhere at the first lockout. Hank/Jagr spoiled us into believing we were contenders post lockout. The past 2 years were the only years we were serious contenders.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            Dave last serious contenders yes i agree.This year no just not the same team.I do like the pieces coming out of this season better long term.We can’t be fooled in keeping B.RICH.Buy that contract out now and be done.Continue to get bigger,stronger,faster,younger and skilled.The Coach must have TRUST in that over a 82 game season with playing time these kids will be ready come play-offs.The CUP will only come when these kids develop and contribute.Like you have been saying push Boyle to the 4Th line.Krieder,JT Miller,Lindberg and D Mc the future is now.We have the best goalie in the world that being let him stop pucks keep our forwards up high to pressure the points,cause turn overs and lets get up ice.Stop playing this shell in our Dzone.We do need a end 2 end puck rushing defenseman.

  4. Bloomer says:

    I totally agree with Dave, I don’t get all the negatively surrounding Slats, Torts and the club. Not only has the Rangers franchise become a perennially playoff team under Torts watch, they have a great future with Kreider, Miller, St Croix, Lindberg, McIrath and Moore. Buying out Richards will put the Rangers well under the cap which gives them the flexibility to fill a few holes, maybe add some depth on the blue line.
    Slats will eventually hand over the reins to Jeff Gordon who will make a awesome GM. And their scouting staff with Gordie Clark is exceptional.

    Tort success with coaching young players speaks for itself when you look at the players who have developed in Tampa Bay and New York with him as their coach. If he rubs overpaid, underachieving veterans the wrong way… tough. In the real world, people are held accountable every day when they underperform. I like his frank, straight forward manner in which he speaks to the press. Maybe our politicians can learn from him. Only thing that comes from their mouths is lies and misdirection.

    Bring on training camp I can’t wait.

  5. Mr. Snrub says:

    Rumor mongering time: Might make sense to try to extend Staal this summer with only one year left on his contract. If he refuses, does that mean we ship him off to Carolina? Could we get Skinner in return?

    • mr. snrub says:

      Oh nevermind, he’s for another two seasons, not just one. Definitely don’t have to worry about that scenario. Just hope that eye heals up before camp next season.

  6. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Going forward we must be come a big,nasty,fast,tough,skilled team to play against.Stop playing that shell game in our Dzone.Let the world’s best goalie stop 40 shots a nite if thats the case.We need to push, push the pace,dial it up a couple of Hz.Think big,fast and nasty.

  7. Chuck A says:

    Keep drafting and developing – as it appears has been the philosophy for the past several years. That is paying off now, and will reap further depth and benefits (CUP?) in the future.

  8. Eric says:

    This team has given us glimmers of hope this season but they put way too much on Hanks back. Losing Prust, Dubi and Arty goes to the point about depth. I cannit wait to see Nash in a full season and there was no way Prust was getting 2 million per from us. I think the Gaborik trade was brilliant. Brassard and Moore are going to be great on this team. So I feel Slats is doing a good job.

    I have been a Torts fan for a while but I am off that band wagon. The team came out flat way too many times in the playoffs and that squarely lays on the coaches shoulders. The pp was a disaster. Why not hire a offensive minded coach to run the pp? A coaches job is to get players going when they are struggling not publicly torch a player like he did to Haglin. Bottom line the team doesn’t want to play for him. He should be gone. Lindy Ruff would do wonders here.

    I love the Rangers and there is work to be done this off season. I think Richards gets one more year before being bought out. Del Zotto is traded at the draft because Moore is better defensively and very good offensively. The big question will Marc Staal comeback? I think he will.

  9. PopsTwitTar says:

    “Where it was lost: Board play

    The second reason why this was lost is the one that none of us expected. The Rangers were absolutely dominated along the boards all series, and all playoffs”

    Not sure why this was unexpected. This happened last playoffs (especially v. Devils), and it happened every single game v. the Bruins over the last 2 years.