That was about as embarrassing a 20 minute effort as I think I’ve ever seen the Rangers play in the playoffs. To have the lead going into the third and then just stop playing is maddening and reminiscent of last year. There’s far too much talent on this team and the structure is there to close this thing out.

The Rangers’ Game 5 loss is on the players’ failure to execute the game plan and keep things flowing, neutralizing Carolina’s high danger chances. Instead, they allowed 4 third period goals, including an empty netter, sending the series back to Raleigh for a Game 6.

Jacob Trouba has been the source of much discourse this postseason and for many correct reasons. For him to get the opening goal–shorthanded to boot!–was a much needed boost for him after the last couple of games in Raleigh. Like many of the players, I’m sure Trouba is not playing at nearly 100% right now, but hopefully this gives him some sort of relief and maybe he can be part of more offense next game. As the captain, I’m sure he’s not remotely pleased with the effort, much like the fans.

Igor Shesterkin played about as good a hockey game as you could through the first 40 minutes, you know, when the Rangers were still playing defense. The total collapse in the third period is going to skew his numbers, but he didn’t have a chance on 2 of the goals and one was an empty netter.

Breakdowns in coverage, wide open players in high danger scoring areas, and other issues are things Shesterkin is used to, but he’s still human. The team needs to tighten up to help him out. If the Rangers continue to do what they were doing the first 3 games of the series, keeping the majority of Carolina’s chances to the outside and limiting deflections, he will be fine.

But Shesterkin cannot stop everything thrown at him, at some point someone needs to step up. Trouba scored his first playoff goal and that didn’t even get the boys juiced. I don’t know if the overtimes from earlier in the series are starting to rear their ugly heads, but with an additional day off, hopefully it is the reset they need.

There’s just not much more to say. This was a severely disappointing loss, and one that gives the dangerous Carolina Hurricanes some momentum and confidence.The response Thursday has to result in a Ranger win.


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