Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Tough to Take

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan, this is most likely what you are feeling regarding what happened to the team tonight.

The New Jersey Devils ended the team’s hope of getting to the Stanley Cup Final by beating the Blueshirts 3-2 in overtime on a goal by rookie Adam Henrique tonight at the Prudential Center. It is certainly disheartening considering the way the Rangers played in this game.

With the exception of the first period, it seemed like the Rangers dominated this game. They outshot the Devils 35-29, forechecked hard, had a lot more puck possession and were once again able to overcome 2-goal deficit to tie the hockey game and put a a major scare into their Hudson River rivals.

Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, it was only a scare they put into the Devils and not the victory. With their playoff lives on the line for the fourth time this postseason, the Rangers were not able to overcome a 3-2 series deficit for the right to play a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

With that said, one has to wonder what it would have been like had the Rangers turned in better first period performances in this series. Time and time again, it seemed like the Rangers got down early and were forced to play comeback hockey. While the team was not terrible tying up hockey games, it is a tough way to play in the postseason and unfortunately, the Blueshirts learned that the hard way.

Now, credit needs to be given to the Devils. They played a heck of a series, got big-time performances from their leaders and unsung heroes and got a great series from their 40-year-old netminder Martin Brodeur.

It should also be noted that Devils’ head coach Pete Deboer got the job done for his hockey team on this season. He used the right line combinations, knew when to tinker with his lines and did a great job in keeping his team loose throughout the series despite the fact they were going up against the Atlantic Division winner and the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference. So, congrats to all Devils’ fans out there and I wish you and your team good luck against the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.

There is no doubt that this going to sting a bit and deservedly so. Based on the way the Blueshirts played in the regular season and in the postseason, fans probably expected a lot more out of this hockey club.

However, this season was an incredible building step for the club. The team showed that when committed to a system, they could be one of the toughest teams to beat in the NHL and can win games on a consistent basis.

The team also showed that it has an extremely valuable young core. Guys like Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider all showed how good they are and how the team’s offense will only get better going forward.

Netminder Henrik Lundqvist showed why he is one of the best goaltenders in hockey today. Night in and night out, he was the team’s best player and once again showed the Rangers that without him, they are completely lost.

This season is something to build on and while it certainly hurts right now, it could prove to be invaluable as the team continues to grow and get better in the future.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, adam+henrique, carl+hagelin, chris+kreider, derek+stepan, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pete+deboer, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.