Rangers Lost the Playoffs A Long Time Ago

PHILADELPHIA – Forget Henrik Lundqvist had the game of his life and forget about PA Parenteau’s very questionable penalty in the third that allowed the Flyers to tie the game.

And forget the game ended in a shootout, because if there wasn’t a shootout, the Rangers wouldn’t have had a chance after overtime anyway.

The fact remains the Rangers are hitting the gold course early because they showed no life on offense in yesterday’s 2-1 shootout win for the Flyers. No matter what, the Blueshirts had the game in their hands and just let it slip away.

“We didn’t have the puck enough,” said a disappointed John Tortorella. “We didn’t have the puck enough in the first period. I thought we gathered ourselves in the second and third, but we simply didn’t have the puck enough.”

Every time the Rangers did have the puck they were swarmed by the Flyers, who just seemed to want the game more.

Maybe, though, Game 82 was a microcosm for a very disappointing Ranger season. This is a talented team that just didn’t rise to the occasion. It’s a team with one of the top five goalies in the league in Lundqvist along with one of the top scorers in Marion Gaborik.

And although they finished the season strong going 7-1-2 after starting the year 7-1, the other 64 games were an exercise in futility as the team floated through the season without direction or purpose to the tune of 24-31-9. If the Blueshirts could have turned around just one of those 31 losses, they would have been in the playoffs.

Yet, it was the bed they made and were forced to sweep a very difficult in division home-and-home against a rival.

For most of the game, though, the Rangers did a good job containing the high powered Flyer offence. Thanks to Lundqvist who stopped 46 of 47 shots, the team led for most of the affair after Jody Shelly gave the team a 1-0 lead early in the first.

But the King ran out of gas as the affair went to a shootout, allowing Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux to score, while only Parenteau could counter on Brian Boucher. And when Olli Jokinen – more than likely his last deed as a Ranger – couldn’t counter, the Flyers celebrated and frustration came from the visiting dressing room.

“I think we worked hard, but they were better tonight,” said Lundqvist, who admitted he was tired. “They made good moves. I’m just so empty now, I don’t know what to say.”

The Rangers will have a lot of time now to figure out what went wrong. Expect a very different team on the ice next year, one that may be a little more complete and better defensively. It’s easy to point fingers at the players and Tortorella, but the fact remains, that this inconsistent Ranger squad shares the blame equally, from the general manager in Glen Sather to the backup goaltender in Alex Auld.

But those changes are for another day. The story today is simple….The 2009-10 Rangers just couldn’t get the job done.

Notes:

  • The Blueshirts were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, in a shootout today at the Wachovia Center, to close out their 2009-10 regular season schedule.  It was the Rangers’ seventh shootout of the season (3-4).
  • The Rangers finished the season with a record of 38-33-11 (87 pts.) overall, including a 20-16-5 (45 pts.) mark on the road, to rank ninth in the Eastern Conference standings.
  • New York posted a 7-1-2 (16 pts.) record over the last 10 games of the season, dating back to a 5-0 win vs. the Islanders on Mar. 24, to come within one point of their fifth consecutive playoff berth.  It is the second time this season the Rangers registered 16 points in a 10-game stretch, having posted a 7-1-2 record from Dec. 17 at the NY Islanders to Jan. 6 vs. Dallas.
  • Henrik Lundqvist stopped 46 of 47 shots through regulation and overtime, and turned aside one of three shootout attempts, to finish the season with a record of 35-27-10, including an 18-11-4 mark on the road.  He posted a 7-1-2 record in the last 10 games, registering a 2.18 goals against average with a .930 save percentage and two shutouts over the span.  Lundqvist’s 46 saves marked his fourth game this season with 40-or-more saves, which is a career-high.
  • Jody Shelley notched the game’s opening goal at 3:27 of the first period, and finished the contest with four hits and a team-high four shots on goal in a season-high 13:58 of icetime.  Shelley notched a goal in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, having tallied a goal on Friday vs. Philadelphia at MSG, and has now recorded five points (two goals and three assists) in the last eight games vs. Atlantic Division opponents.
  • Defenseman Michal Rozsival tallied the primary assist on Shelley’s first period goal and logged 26:54 of icetime.  Rozsival registered two assists in the final three games to finish second among team defensemen with 20 assists on the season.
  • Artem Anisimov recorded one assist in 18:01 of icetime to finish the season riding a four-game assist streak (four assists), and registered five assists in the last six games.
  • P.A. Parenteau converted his shootout attempt in the second round of the shootout, improving to three-for-three in the shootout for his career.
  • Marc Staal skated in a team-high 29:16 of icetime and finished with three hits in the contest.  The third-year player led the Rangers in average icetime this season, logging a career-high 23:07 of icetime per game.
  • On Mar. 25 at New Jersey, Lundqvist registered 35 saves through regulation and overtime, and stopped all three shots faced in the shootout, to post his 30th  win of the season.  Lundqvist is the only goalie in NHL history to post 30-or-more wins in each of his first five seasons, and is the first Rangers goaltender in team history to post five straight 30-win seasons.  He recorded his 150th career regular season win with a 29-save shutout on Nov. 1 against Boston, becoming the fastest goalie to 150 wins (279 games) in franchise history, reaching the mark 16 games ahead of Mike Richter (295 games).  Lundqvist also established career-highs in saves and shots faced, stopping 50 of 55 shots on Mar. 4 vs. Pittsburgh.
  • In his first year as a Ranger, Marian Gaborik led the team with 42 goals and 44 assists for 86 points, along with a plus-15 rating and 14 power play goals.  Gaborik established career-highs in assists, points and power play goals, and tied his career-high in goals.  He began the season with an eight-game point streak, tying the franchise record for longest point streak to begin the season by a new Ranger, set by Dave Creighton in 1955-56.  Gaborik’s 42 goals tied Phil Esposito’s mark during the 1978-79 season for 11th on the Rangers’ all-time single season goals list.
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