Game 3 was a coin-flip game the Devils came out on top of. OK no problem, no one expected a sweep. Game 4 was more of the same but the gap between the two teams widened. OK, it happens. Effort wasn't there, sure, but there's no way a team that fought their way to the Conference Final a year ago wouldn't show up with a noticeable bounce-back in a crucial Game 5 - win or lose. Right?
Last night was a straight up embarrassment for every Ranger not named Igor Shesterkin, who looks well on his way to following in the footsteps of Henrik Lundqvist being left on an island for his entire career. New Jersey sat back for the majority of the tilt without any fear of the Blueshirts attack, waiting for them to skate or pass to nowhere, then easily recapturing the puck & counterpunching at will. Akira Schmid did his job again but for the third straight game wasn't really tested often. After the Rangers found themselves in a 3-0 hole early in the third period you'd think they'd go all-out and start peppering the rookie.
Instead the Devils outright dominated the final 20, outshooting New York 19-2. How does that happen? I don't care how well Lindy Ruff's squad played, it's simply inexcusable to muster such a feeble effort. Outworked. Outplayed. Outskilled. Outcoached. Outfought. As a matter of fact, the Devils were so unconcerned with the Rangers that, after Goodrow tried to spark his bench by scrapping with Bahl, the d-man patted Goody on the back afterwards and said "good job buddy". In a rivalry playoff game they were so unintimidating that the Devils were patronizing them after trying to literally punch them square in the face. What a fucking joke.
I dunno what to say. As the stakes have risen, the Rangers have gotten worse & worse. The Devils deserve a ton of credit but there's just no question the Blueshirts are making it incredibly easy for them and it's gotten to a point where there's no silver lining left to hold up any hope this team can bounce back. And that's the hardest pill to swallow. If the Rangers were playing close to their best hockey and being shut down that's one thing. They're just so non-threatening and it doesn't particularly look like there's a single skater on this squad who wants to try and do something about it.
So if they wanna play dead I'll just pronounce them dead. Fuck it.
The New York Rangers are D-E-A-D.