It’s been another gut-wrenching year for Blueshirts fans.
So close for such a promising team that had been playing exceptionally well all season, but yet so far as we had to endure four tough losses in a row.
So, what happened, and what’s in store for the coming season?
Let’s start with a quick and brief rundown on the season and playoff recap – just to set the tone and build up some excitement for what can be an even better season next year.
Finishing second in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers ended their regular season campaign with 52 wins and 24 losses (8 OT). This was the third-best record in franchise history, putting them top ten in the whole league going into the playoffs, where there was actually a lot of hope for a deep run.
Round 1 against the Penguins started off rough, and the Rangers needed to win the final three games to advance following a game 7 OT victory.
Round 2 looked to start the same, but a strong home presence and dominant performance in games 6 and 7 against the Hurricanes took them to the conference finals.
Going against the reigning champs is always daunting, and even after taking the first two games, the Rangers just couldn’t keep up with the Lightning away from home, taking bad penalties and some bad bounces from the puck brought about a rapid elimination in four games.
As tough as losing out in the conference finals is, there was a lot for fans to be excited about, and Vezina Trophy Winner, Igor Shesterkin’s contribution to the stellar record and deep playoff run cannot be understated.
Maybe They Were Ahead of Schedule.
It’s been a common thought that the Ranger’s success this season was rather unexpected; with a new head coach and general manager, it’s pretty fair to say that some breakout players, rock-solid goaltending, and just generally brilliant team vibes propelled the team forward.
And since we can’t go back, it’s not a bad time to check out a few of the best betting apps and put in a hopeful wager given the odds right now – there’s #NoQuitInNY, and the Rangers will certainly lift the Cup again, the bookmakers seem to think they’ve got a great chance.
Focusing on the players, it was without a doubt a huge season for Kris Kreider – and while it might be a bit silly to think he can manage another 53-goal season at the age of 31, there is a lot of young talent in the like of Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Alexis Lafreniere who have now tasted victory in the playoffs, as well as the crushing feeling of defeat.
That being said, a few questions have been raised following the scratch of Kakko in Game 6, but fingers crossed this young talent will be a contributing factor in more success in New York and Gallant’s choice to drop him from the lineup won’t create lingering bad feelings.
But let’s move on to who really dictated the Ranger’s season: Igor Shesterkin. The Blueshirts have been pretty fortunate in the recent decade to have top-tier netminders, and Shesty has certainly managed to live up to Lundqvist’s reputation so far. Even if his play between the pipes drops a little, all signs point to his ability to repeat his spectacular campaign next season, and if the $18 million hit to the salary cap for Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad is worth it, the Rangers have a stacked team on all fronts.
We just hope the old adage of ‘you need to lose to learn how to win’ holds true because it is about time the Cup returns to the greatest city on Earth.
Featured Image: New York Post