Well, here we are once again. Another season that ended far too early, and another season that ended in heartbreak for Henrik Lundqvist. In a do or die Game 6, the New York Rangers just didn’t seem ready when the puck dropped. Like much of this series, the Rangers completely shot themselves in the foot with their slow start, and the Ottawa Senators made them pay big time.
Mike Hoffman immediately made this a 1-0 game at the 4:27 mark after deflecting home Erik Karlsson’s point shot. With the Senators continually pressuring, they eventually doubled up their lead nearing the end of the first period. Mark Stone was the recipient of the second goal following a 2-on-2 rush into the Rangers zone.
Brendan Smith gave Stone way too much room as he entered the zone, and Stone absolutely bombed a wrist shot past Lundqvist on the short side. The Garden went dead quiet following the second goal, and it was fairly evident the Rangers were trying to fight through the frustration.
Finally, after going almost a period and a half without a goal, the Rangers finally caught the break they were looking for. Mika Zibanejad flew right up the middle of the ice, around the Senators defensemen, and lofted the puck over Craig Anderson. Zibanejad’s goal gave the MSG crowd some life, and more importantly, the Rangers look poised to turn the momentum back in their favor.
However, the Senators almost immediately crushed that hope as Erik Karlsson snapped home what appeared to be a backbreaking goal. Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, the Rangers had 20 minutes to muster up some sort of comeback if they planned on surviving until Thursday. Chris Kreider restored that hope once again just a minute into the third, after a ridiculous power move to the net.
That goal gave the Rangers life once again, and this time they kept the momentum for a majority of the third period. With the ice completely tilted in the Senators end, the Rangers continued to to test Craig Anderson but they just couldn’t find a way to break him. The Rangers had a massive opportunity late in the game with the Senators getting caught with too many men on the ice.
Unfortunately, the Rangers kept a majority of their chances to the perimeter which made life very easy on Anderson. Jean-Gabriel Pageau eventually iced the game and the series with under 10 seconds remaining as he tallied the empty net goal. With this loss, the Rangers will now turn their attention to the offseason where there will hopefully be wholesale changes on the backend.