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The NY Rangers Bubble Bursts

Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo. Getty Images.

I'm pretty sure the Rangers families haven't even had enough time to miss them.

The Blueshirts gave a way better effort for the majority of their final game, especially in the first period. Still, like good teams do, the Canes were able to take their opponent's best shot and come out of it unscathed. It felt like one of those where that was gonna be all the Rangers had, but just 12 seconds into the second period Chris Kreider scored a monster solo-effort goal to give his squad their first lead of the series. Didn't last long though. With the 4th line hemmed in their zone and Marc Staal without a stick, his forwards inexplicably never gave him a twig. Instead, an already iffy defender was forced to play stickless for what had to be close to a minute as Carolina rolled out fresh guys and attacked his side for the equalizer. That's pee-wee level shit. Doesn't matter if it's his off-hand, the first forward near him passes their stick. Period.

I picked on the Hurricanes goaltending as their weakness, and rightfully so - but don't tell James Reimer that. In a pretty even second period, an improbable sequence that ended with a spectacular cross-crease paddle save to absolutely rob Chytil managed to keep the game tied even though it shouldn't have been. Reimer was solid all night long but that stop was a game-changer. The Rangers brain fart on the earlier tying goal combined with some larceny at the other end kept the score even for Carolina to take charge in the third. They pinned NY's bottom trio in their zone again before beating Shesterkin with an impossible-to-stop deflection 5 minutes in. Then Sebastian Aho put the nail in the coffin with a highlight reel effort, stripping Trouba (who had a great night up until then) before putting DeAngelo on a fucking poster & beating Igor on the backhand top corner from his knees. 

 

That's what you call a team's best player being their best player. Aho was quiet for most of the tilt but managed to create an opportunity to put his stamp on the game and send the Rangers home. Love my man Mika but 5 combined shots over the last two games just simply isn't good enough. Panarin had his best effort of the series but still nowhere near the Hart-level he skated all regular season. Fox was a shell of himself, DeAngelo was brutal, Kreider was a no-show through the first two and there were zero contributions from anywhere else in the lineup despite relatively good play out of kids like Kakko & Chytil. This isn't a time for silver linings though. The Blueshirts were gifted an opportunity to earn a legit playoff spot and instead puked all over themselves with a pair of embarrassing outings and a mere 4 tucks in 3 games as one of the top offenses in the league. Gross.

Now the focus shifts to hitting the 12.5% lottery to make it all better…