Rangers Blow Late Lead, Fall To Senators In Overtime

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

For the second time this series, and third time in the playoffs overall, the New York Rangers failed to close out a game while leading in the closing minutes. You would think that after going on this adventure twice already, Alain Vigneault would learn his lesson. Clearly not. AV’s personnel usage has been questioned countless times since the playoffs began, and at this point, it’s just exhausting.

There’s nothing left to be said than what’s out there already, but yet, Vigneault continues to fall back on his ways. It’s almost like he’s doing it on purpose at this point, because there is simply zero explanation for it. It’s extremely frustrating, because the Rangers have clearly been the better team in this series, they’re just continually shooting themselves in the foot at the worst possible times.

Credit to Ottawa though, as they’ve found a way to hang around in the series, and are exposing the Rangers when the wheels fall off like they did again this afternoon. Funny enough, this game perfectly summed up how much of a roller coaster ride this series  has truly been. Game’s 1 and 2 were as bad as the Rangers have played this series, and Game’s 3 and 4 were about as dominating as they’ve been in quite a while.

We got a little of both in this game, as the Rangers came storming out of the gates with a pair goals in the first five minutes of regulation. Then, they followed it up by allowing three straight goals to give the Senators some life. For whatever reason, the Rangers just don’t seem to have that killer instinct when they have an opportunity to bury a team.

But once their backs are against the wall, they decide to play like the team they are capable of being. We saw that once again following the Senators’ trio of goals, as Ryan McDonagh and Jimmy Vesey scored to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead with about seven minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Rangers fell back into their usual shell after gaining the lead, and it came back to haunt them.....again.

Derick Brassard wound up tying the game on a bit of a fortunate bounce, after the puck deflected off of several players and rolled past Henrik Lundqvist. Much like the previous two times, the Rangers appeared completely stunned when the puck dropped in overtime. They barely even sniffed the offensive zone aside from one or two chances and just looked completely dead in the water.

On one of their few chances in overtime, Michael Grabner appeared to end the game but the goal was immediately waved off because of a high stick. Shortly after that, Kyle Turris would end the game following a blocked shot, and slipped the puck past Lundqvist to give the Senators a 3-2 series lead.

Obviously the series isn’t over just yet, and like I mentioned earlier, the Rangers often play their best hockey when they’re close to falling off of the cliff. It truly does suck that inept personnel decisions have put them in a 3-2 series hole, but there’s still two games left to get this done.

Game 6 is scheduled for Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, so we’ll see then which Rangers team decides to show up.