NHL: Devils Eliminate Rangers in Game 7

Devils forward Ryan McLeod (#20) celebrates after scoring the first and game-winning goal. The Devils would go on to win game 7, 4-0, advancing to the Second Round. Photo: NY Post.

Wow. When I saw this matchup, a part of me figured the Rangers would lose this series, but not like this. Behold one of the greatest embarrassments in franchise history: a star-studded team goes into the playoffs and lose in the first round. To a team they had a 2-0 series lead over in dominating fashion. A team whose average age is about 20 years old. A team whose defense consists of Dougie Hamilton and a bunch of wet plywood. A team that was down to their third-string goalie in game three because the other two options sucked. You can make excuses about how Akira Schmid was unstoppable and how the playoff structure sucks, but either way you look at it, this is downright pathetic.

This team had cup ambitions? Really? I sure couldn’t tell with this garbage. A team that went all-in at the trade deadline wholly self-destructed. This was probably their best chance at winning the cup in this contending window, and they completely defecated all over it. I got losing to Tampa last year, but THIS? Did anyone even bother showing up for this? I couldn’t tell by the lack of urgency from most of the team. The grace period is over, boys. It’s time for me to pick apart this team for its flaws like everyone else I write about. And I’ll do it with pride.

Chris Drury has got to be one of the most frustrated executives in the NHL right now, if not the four major sports. With his deadline moves, he is easily a candidate for GM of the year. The dude pretty much built an All-Star team. Want to know how spoiled for wealth the Rangers were this year? They had Vladimir Tarasenko on their second power-play unit. What do the Rangers do with this luxury? Waste it. Like every other year they’ve been a contender over the past decade. Drury did nothing wrong. He did exactly what he needed to do. He added star power for bargain-bin prices, he added quality depth in the lineup, he did everything according to the book and then some- and then everyone else let him down.

I don’t want to admit this, but I have no choice. Gerard Gallant needs to be fired. There, I said it. His tactics are wearing off, and honestly, he’s falling into the same traps he did in Vegas. There were about six guys on the Rags that actually looked awake in this series: The 4th line, the top D pairing, and Shesty. That’s it. For a team that has enough star talent on it to single-handedly populate an all-star team, this was incredibly disappointing to witness.

Artemi Panarin has been hot garbage these playoffs from every conceivable metric. Two assists for a guy making 8 figures a year is a borderline criminal underachievement. So why is it that when he keeps turning the puck over and doesn’t backcheck that he gets a permanent place on their top line? Why is he a core piece of the penalty kill? This guy can’t do anything on defense, yet Gallant is trotting him out there because Panarin exists to satisfy the idea of a top-flight winger. An argument can be made that his is one of the worst contracts in the league. This man makes $11.6 million per year. Three more years of this. Nice work, Gorton. No wonder Dolan fired him two years ago.

I know the excuse amongst players and fans for this year will be something along the lines of the following. “Our team is still good. It’s okay. We came up short yet again. There’s always next year, you know!” WHAT PART OF THE RANGERS DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND? NEXT YEAR NEVER COMES! Once again, this was quite possibly their best chance to win a cup in this contending window, and they blew it spectacularly. This honestly feels worse than that 2017 series loss to Ottawa. My jaw has hit the floor. If major changes aren’t made this offseason, this team isn’t doing a thing for the next few years.

That’s enough of my salt and rage—time to make fun of other teams that embarrass themselves.


Story Archive

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2022 by the Staff of The Mirror
The Mirror's Policy Manual and Style Guide.
The Mirror is funded by gifts to the Northwood Fund. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: