It took sixty five heart stopping moments of Henrik Lundqvist basically doing everything he could to get the Rangers into the playoffs, but it wasn't enough, and the Flyers defeated the Rangers 2-1 in the shootout to end the Rangers season.
The Flyers controlled most of the play in the first period, getting the majority of the scoring chances, ringing two posts, and outshooting the Rangers by an overwhelming 18-4 margin. But it was newly discovered sniper Jody Shelley who was the difference-maker in the opening period, deflecting a shot from Michal Rozsival past Flyers goalkeeper Brian Boucher to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at the end of one.
In the second, the Rangers gave the Flyers lethal power play too many chances, but were able to kill them all off, thanks to Lundqvist, who for some reason has to keep proving his worth to some Ranger fans. Your best penalty killer is always your goalkeeper, and Hank got the job done in the second.
One thing that bothered me in the second was Aaron Voros allowing himself to get drawn into a fight with Ian Laperriere. In a tight game like this, with the Flyers needing a lift, the last thing you want to do is give them one. Voros has to be smarter than that there.
So into the third period we went, the biggest third period of the season for the Blueshirts. Ranger fans chewing their nails off, and overpartaking in whatever vice they partake in. The Rangers again took a penalty, the second of the game for P.A. Parenteau, and the Flyers were able to capitalize when Matt Carle was able to get the puck past Henrik and tie the game.
After Lundqvist kept it tied with what seemed like a few hundred more saves, sixty minutes proved not to be enough to decide a winner, and the game went to OT. Both teams traded good scoring chances in the overtime period, but both goalies held their ground, and the 8th seed of the NHL Eastern Conference would come down to a shootout.
After Daniel Briere and Parenteau traded goals, Claude Giroux put the Flyers ahead in the shootout, and Boucher made it stick by stopping Olli Jokinen to send the Flyers into the playoffs, and the Rangers into another off-season of tumult.
The Rangers lost this game mostly because their best players were non-existent in this game. Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Chris Drury, Jokinen were barely heard from most of the night. Summer has come early for the Rangers.
The Rangers fourth line seemed to be double shifted, as they were the only ones capable of getting anything going offensively. That's just sad.
I want to thank you all for being with us all season long. We'll have plenty of off-season coverage for you to help get your Rangers fix. There will be lots of changes ahead (again) for the Blueshirts, and we'll have it all for you, so we hope you'll stick around.
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