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NHL New York Rangers

Missed Opportunities End New York Rangers’ Season

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The clock finally struck midnight on the New York Rangers’ fairytale playoff run, which ended in heartbreaking fashion. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Rangers in five games and have won their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.

There’s no doubt that this one is going to sting for a while in New York. The Rangers only won one game in the finals, but they had more than enough chances to win in every game, even the one they lost 3-0.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, missed opportunities throughout the series ultimately doomed them. They missed chances to score when they needed a big goal and they messed up chances to close out games when they held the lead.

The Rangers lost all three games in L.A. in overtime after holding leads in all of them. Even after losing those leads, they had their chances in the various overtimes and just couldn’t get the big goal.

The Rangers created some outstanding chances to score in Game 5’s overtime, Los Angeles’ clinching game. Derek Stepan had a rebound opportunity with plenty of open net and he roofed it over the goal and off the boards. They had some great looks on a power play in overtime and Ryan McDonagh came inches away from ending the game, but he squarely hit the post and no Ranger could bury the rebound.

The list goes on, but none was harder to watch than when Rick Nash had literally the entire open net and his shot hit Slava Voynov’s stick and went wide. Nash had been the No. 1 scapegoat throughout the playoffs after his lack of goal-scoring, and that play summed up Nash’s postseason in a nutshell. All Nash could do is shake his head in disgust after missing the chance.

The Rangers have nobody to blame but themselves. Games 1 and 2 were theirs for the taking, but they repeatedly failed to stifle Kings comebacks. Henrik Lundqvist played great in goal, but could only hold off the Kings for so long. Jonathan Quick also played great in goal for the Kings and made some very timely saves, but in many cases, the Rangers tried to get too fine and would miss the net again and again.

The Kings deserved to win the finals, but from a New York perspective, this series got away from them.

Now begins a long offseason that can’t end fast enough for the Rangers. Overall, the team has to be proud of their effort in Alain Vigneault‘s first season as head coach. They have some very good young players and the future looks bright for New York, but right now it’s a bitter taste to get so close to the cup and come up short.