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.