The Rangers finished off pissing away a perfectly good season on Friday night by losing their third straight game to the New Jersey Devils, failing 4-2 in the best-of-seven conference final. In those three of those losses combined, the Blueshirts spotted New Jersey a 7-0 lead in the first periods and - not-so-shockingly - couldn't rally to win a single one. Unlike Wednesday's late lapse, they forced an overtime in this one but simply blew it a minute into the extra period and lost 3-2.
Really not sure what else to say at this point, I'm more shell-shocked than anything. I stood in my spot unmoving from the second the puck went in until the security started pushing people out of the arena and I'm still dazed. It is hard to accept that the season is over. And it ended like that. To them. Soul crushing.
The Devils weren't the better team, they were the better coached team. Their OHL bench boss set steady lines that played the same way shift in and shift out and period in and period out and that consistency carried them past the erratic and exhausted Rangers. Mmmaaarrtttyyyy was handed his redemption for '94, he hardly earned it - especially in this series-ender. Half the Blueshirts blueliners were exhausted, the other half incompetent. And the NYR high-priced help was no help at all while both Kovy and Parise played a part in their victory. But no matter the rambling reasoning, the simple fact is that the Devils won and the Rangers lost.
Go Kings Go.
No Late Hits tonight.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Martin Brodeur - 33 saves.
2-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
1-Adam Henrique - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Kovy - The Russian was a factor, the Slovak was not.
2-Cally - Really hard to imagine that this was his first season as captain.
1-Henrique - As a friend joked, Henrique said he would give his left nut for a chance to play in the Cup Final and he nearly did.
Programming Note: The annual report card should be done in the next week. There may also be a retrospective on the season as I experienced it at some point, as it started in Europe and (hopefully) will end in L.A. I'm not sure if I will bring back the Facts of Life series again, I may just do a longer, more detailed report card. Right now it is hard writing about this team.