Their names won’t be etched in the Stanley Cup but this New York Rangers team will forever be etched in the hearts of Rangers’ fans. While there will be no victory parade through Manhattan and while the pain of missed chances and blown leads will be there it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. The New York Rangers proved they are one of the NHL’s top teams and this might not be their only visit to the Stanley Cup Finals.
There isn’t a Rangers’ fan out there that should be sad. A few puck bounces the Rangers’ way and they might be the ones holding the Cup. This team has everything to be proud of. From the start of the season where the Rangers were forced to play nine straight games on the road to open the season after spending the entire preseason away from Madison Square Garden. Maybe that is the reason they became such a force away from home. Henrik Lundqvist started the year off slowly but might have walked away from the Stanley Cup Final with the label of the greatest goaltender to ever put on the pads for the Rangers and might be the best in the NHL.
Chris Kreider, no longer fearing being put in the doghouse by John Tortarella, flourished under Alain Vigneault and elevated the game of everyone around him. Martin St. Louis got off to a dreadful start with the Rangers but became a Ranger throughout the playoffs with big goals and even bigger heart. Ryan McDonagh should be in the Norris Trophy conversation for years to come and might add a few to his mantle in the process.
It was okay for the Rangers to be emotional and devastated after this series. They played their heart out and left everything on the ice. One could argue that they played better in the three losses in Los Angeles than they did in their one win. Somehow, it wasn’t meant to be. That doesn’t mean this is the end. The Rangers have the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs any given year and they should be considered among the best in the NHL. With Henrik in net they have the ability to be the best. It won’t be long before the Rangers get their Cup and the fans get the parade.