Playoffs

Sometimes, the better team wins

Sometimes the better team wins. It isn’t a certainty, but in the NHL playoffs, the better team usually comes out on top. That is what happened to the Rangers over the past four days. The Rangers got beaten in every aspect of their game. And that’s ok. The Carolina Hurricanes were the better team. They won. That happens.

The Canes exploited a number of flaws on the Rangers. The Rangers were over reliant on their top-six. The lack of depth came back to bite them as the top-six was neutered by a strong Carolina team.

The Rangers were over reliant on their right defense. This came back to bite them as the Hurricanes had a perfect game plan. They forced the right defense to make the first pass on the breakout, uncontested. The left defense then had to make the second pass, and that’s where Carolina struck.

The Canes exploited a major weakness in the Blueshirts offense. The Rangers were unable to generate any speed through the neutral zone or any kind of breakout. This is because the Canes pressured not the first pass, usually from the right defense, but the second pass from the left defense. This was a tactical decision made by Rod Brind’Amour that stifled the Rangers’ offense.

It didn’t matter which goalie the Rangers used. Four goals in three games won’t cut it. The Canes cut the Rangers’ legs out from under them, and the Rangers never knew what hit them.

This is all ok though. The Rangers were not the better team. They needed way too many things to go their way to even stand a chance. None of those factors went their way. They lost. That’s ok!

The key Rangers got playoff experience. The Rangers learned what the holes in the roster are. They will get better. They will be contenders sooner rather than later. This loss isn’t soul crushing. This loss is just the beginning of something better.

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  • Canes were the better team for sure. And perhaps they had a little extra for the Ranger country who harped on about how Canes were afraid to play the Rangers because they didn’t vote on the playoff format. And how the press and fans harped on the fact we beat them easily in the regular season.

  • The Rangers weren’t going anywhere this year. I see it as a blessing these youngsters got to see some NHL playoff hockey.
    It’s better off that Gorton will have another high 1st round draft pick to help add to his teams nice young core.

    Personally I think what Gorton does with this draft will be quite telling as to how far he thinks this team is from competing for a cup.
    Also, what should he do with say a #7 overall draft pick? Add to his impressive defensive pool of prospects? Can never have too many stud Dmen. We may need to replace D’Angelo.
    Or should he add a forward prospect. A centerman for depth up front?? Or even trade the pick for a player now if Gorton feels he’s only a depth forward or 2 away from competing for a Cup next season.

  • The series was certainly a learning experience for the mostly young Rangers team. Sure, I would have liked to see a more extended run by them and hence, more opportunities to learn and maybe savor some successes, but those things will have to wait.

    I look forward to the next Rangers’ season. I’ll take in some hockey now without being able to watch my favorite team for now, but they will be back, and there will be exciting times ahead.

  • Our NYR team was dominated by a team that had a gameplan. DQ on the other hand, thought that he had 2 better lines that would bring us far in the playoffs. NOT. It (the sweep) shows us a few things. We are more than 1 or 2 players away, and DQ needs to learn how to win and prepare for NHL playoffs.

    Our defensive game needs a new strategy and our 3rd & 4th lines need to add something to the offense. Another draft pick will be nice, but we need much more.

    • Creature Feature

      Here is something to think about, even before the draft begins:

      Austin Rueschhoff, free agent RW, 6’7″ 229 lbs. Western Michigan University

      Morgan Barron, drafted and signed C+LW, 6’4″ 220 lbs. Cornell University

      Tim Gettinger, 6’6″ 218 lbs Wolf Pack

      They can address the need for size, and some skill to go with it.

      and on defense

      K’Andre Miller 6’5″ 210 lbs University of Wisconsin

      All the above players are already signed, and could be looking to earn a spot on the 3rd-4th lines, and additional help on the “D”. They are not kids, like the ones being drafted after the PO’s, they are in their 20″s, and could help real soon.

      We’ll see what we get in the draft, and see how many existing players will be moved out before the draft. Whatever happens, I’m excited for the future, and next season to start…………..

      • Oh man, Walt…I’ll give you “2 thumbs-up” for that post.

        Yes…SIZE and skill (hopefully some toughness comes with those who have size -it would be a nice bonus). We more players who can throw their weight around, with a few defenseman who can be “stay-at-home” crease clearers.
        Trouba is the only one we have, at the moment, who fits the mold, “big, strong, nasty, clear-the-crease” D man. Another one like him would be great (along with those offense-minded “skill” defensemen that we’ll have plenty of). Our D will be looking REAL GOOD in the next one to two years. We’ll be SET in “year two”.

        • Ranger Joe

          I’m not predicting anything, but I have a sneaky feeling the Miller kid could turn into that second d-man your talking about. The kid is chiseled, strong, and a fine athlete ( football player as well ), who may not be the kind of guy to take liberties with. I can’t wait to see him play for us, I thought he was a fantastic pick at the time, and he is a class act to boot!!!!!!!!!!

    • Creature Feature

      Here is something to think about, even before the draft begins:

      Austin Rueschhoff, free agent RW, 6’7″ 229 lbs. Western Michigan University

      Morgan Barron, drafted and signed C+LW, 6’4″ 220 lbs. Cornell University

      Tim Gettinger, 6’6″ 218 lbs Wolf Pack

      They can address the need for size, and some skill to go with it.

      and on defense

      K’Andre Miller 6’5″ 210 lbs University of Wisconsin

      All the above players are already signed, and could be looking to earn a spot on the 3rd-4th lines, and additional help on the “D”. They are not kids, like the ones being drafted after the PO’s, they are in their 20″s, and could help real soon.

      We’ll see what we get in the draft, and see how many existing players will be moved out before the draft. Whatever happens, I’m excited for the future, and next season to start…………..

      • Walt
        All you say is true, but these are players with potential, not NHL stats. To move forward, we will need a combination of the players you mentioned (to have solid years) and another stud (with NHL creds) to add to this lineup before we move forward.

        DQ still needs to work on his in-game strategy and deployment.

      • Those are big boys…..Let us pray that they mature into very good players. I am tired of watching our D look overwhelmed….

  • rangers didn’t make the playoffs and that’s okay!

    I don’t acknowledge this qualifier round as the playoffs. it will give me a peeve to pet all summer while waiting for the October draft 🙂

  • If anything these 3 games showed me Kakko is going to be an absolute beast next season. Chytil looked great too. These 2 are the linchpins of the Rangers being true contenders in a few years.

    The future is bright for sure.

  • The Canes were definitely the better team in this series. They were in better shape, had a better plan and played together. They were relentless.

    DQ was definitely outcoached and unfortunately our big guns, Panarin, Zib, Kreider, Fox and ADA never really found their game.

    Aho and Svechnikov? are the real deal and will be a handful for a long time.

    That said, I think we really missed Quickie!! I doubt Aho and Svechnikov? would have been so dominant if our best defensive forward had been matched up against them.

    A few bounces the other way and this series might have turned out very differently.

    Hopefully, we learned a lot and will come back even stronger next year.

    Getting the #1 pick would be amazing.

    Lets go Rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ryan Graves, Pionk, and Skjei went to other teams to become better D men.

    Hello, McFly, hello…

    • exactly right. NYR haven’t been getting it right with D for a while now and need for fix that before they blow it with another promising crop of youngsters.

      • Yes, wwpd. Better teaching and a better system is what we need. We have some pretty talented D-men looking for spots on the team next year and in the very near future … your “right on” for saying that they better not waste the talent and potential that our picks have! This team is going to be very exciting in the next 2 years…Let’s get it right with coaching and the systems they need to implement!

  • Of course, my take is completely different. I don’t buy that Carolina was better. My reasons:

    1. Suspension of Lemieux guaranteed the Rangers would start less gritty.
    2. Lindy Ruff’s exit. Allowing Ruff to leave early sent a message to the team – we are not planning to win the Cup this year.
    3. Season sweep. Carolina needed a plan to beat the Rangers and they focused on the Rangers. Rangers thought they just needed to play good hockey. Not only did that give the Canes a better game plan. They were also better motivated as a result.
    4. Pre-series injuries to Staal and DeAngelo. We were not told about lingering effects but obviously Tony had a bad series and, if you really look at Marc’s numbers this year, you notice that he can play well when he is 100%, but is a weakness when he is not. [Note -players are never 100% for an entire Cup run.]
    5. The decision to start a third string goal tender. Just like the Ruff story, it showed that management was not buying into the notion that the Rangers were a serious contender.
    6. Jesper Fast injury. It hurt to lose your grittiest player from the get go. With a team already poorly motivated, you need someone to get you going and Quickie was the last chance, except for the Captain (oh wait, there is no captain)

    This series was won by the team that wanted to win it. Which team is actually better is unclear and had nothing to do with it.

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