This one was over before it began. Once you saw the Caps respond to the Rangers first shift by going into another gear, you knew this one was over. For the first time all series I really felt like the skill difference between the two teams was just glaring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s evident the Caps are the better team, but tonight they looked like a team WORLDS better than the Rangers. Personally I felt the Rangers played really hard, and their effort level was right where it’s been all series, all month, all season. But the difference in skill was like the difference between a DaVinci painting and your kids fingerpaintings you have stuck on your Fridge. Who scored the Caps 3 goals? Semin, Ovechkin, and Green. The Rangers just can’t match up with those names. Even Marian Gaborik, who I firmly believe will be back to his usual elite level next season, isn’t on the level of Ovechkin. Ovechkin just took over this game single handedly. He set up Greens goal on a brilliant pass, and he made an individual play that nobody on the Rangers is capable of doing. Period
This wasn’t a lost season though. It was a pretty miraculous season to say the least. The Rangers came into the season with Drury, Gaborik, and Frolov as their 3 highest paid forwards. Those 3 combined for 30 goals and 39 assists this season. Last season Marian Gaborik alone had better numbers than that. THAT is why the Rangers failed this post season. Your horses have to be your horses. Gaborik had 2 points in 5 games in the playoffs, not near enough, but kind of understandable when you look at what surrounds him. The guy is a premiere player for sure, but he’s basically out there with 2nd and 3rd line players, whereas Gaborik has guys like Backstrom and Semin who can and do play around him. That is the difference here. The Rangers have way too much money allocated to useless parts. Gaborik will be better next season, he’ll be back to his usual level, but guys like Drury have got to go. The Rangers need to get more skilled, and integrate more offense into their lineup. They have a plethora of redundant parts and need to make a play for another elite forward in the trade market. Glen Sather has a lot of work to do, this is a pivotal offseason for the Rangers. I’ll outline my plan in the next week or 2.
For now, I need to rest, this has been a trying playoff season for me. Take care all.