- Michael McLeod (1) (Shorthanded) Assists: Ondrej Palat (2)
- Tomas Tatar (1) Assists: John Marino (1), Nico Hischier (5)
- Erik Haula (4) Assists: Jack Hughes (2), Ondrej Palat (3)
- Jesper Bratt (1) Assists: John Marino (2)
- They didn’t deserve to win tonight and they didn’t deserve to advance. The Devils were the better team for all but 30 minutes, in Game 6, of the last five games and they deserved to win. They were the better, hungrier sharper and more consistent team. The Rangers had their chance in Game 3 to, effectively, end this series and they let the Devils back in and New Jersey took that opening and took over the series.
- You don’t deserve to win when your biggest asset, the PP, is given chance after chance, especially in the first period, and can’t score. The Rangers were getting caved in during the first period and they had the chance to change the game and came up empty.
- They just never seemed on the same page today. They looked so out of sync, threw blind passes, made lazy plays and seemed to be waiting for someone else to step up. They continued to have no answer for the Devils pressure, turned pucks over and deserve to be going home. You could have shown Game 5 on replay and no one would have known the difference.
- You don’t deserve to win when your big guns don’t produce in the biggest moments. It’s not even like the Devils best guys dominated throughout. Jack Hughes had his moments, but Hischier, Bratt, Meier and Hamilton, except the OT winner, were relatively quiet.
- But it’s another massive disappointment of a playoffs for Artemi Panarin. Moments aren’t enough to sustain a team, but Vladimir Tarasenko, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Patrick Kane all had moments that helped the Rangers win games. Was it enough? Not even close, but they at least had moments. Panarin played the entire series nervous and alternating between trying to do too much and force too many passes or being too passive.
- And you don’t deserve to win if you can’t back up or do anything to support the all-world goaltending you got from Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin is the only player on the team that you leave the playoffs without questions about. Everyone else has warts on them.
- That play by Fox was so casual and it reflected how the Rangers played so much of this series. They were casual and slow, the Devils were fast and pressured and their inability to deal with that and raise their game cost them their season.
- Where was the urgency, where was the desperation that we saw in Game 6? They played like they were going to win the game just because and instead they now head home and piss away a chance to win a wide open Eastern Conference.
- Again, you have to give the Devils a lot of credit. They adjusted, which the Rangers never did, kept their foot on the gas and when the Rangers would get their 1-2 quality chances per game, Schmid made some saves. In the one game where the Rangers really tested him they blew him out, but this, like Games 3-4-5 was just not even close to enough. The Devils had a lot of parallels to last years Rangers going into the playoffs and now they win a Game 7 at home and head to Carolina in the second round.
- Changes are coming. Not a ton of the roster can be moved, K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere need new contracts and those cap hits will determine whether the Rangers can, if they want to, retain Patrick Kane and/or Vladimir Tarasenko. Kane likely needs hip surgery so his future is murky, but if they can make it work, I think bringing Vladimir Tarasenko back could be interesting if the contract is right.
- But the biggest change is likely going to come from behind the bench. Maybe Gerard Gallant survives and starts next season on a burning hot seat, but if there is even a tiny question of whether the organization thinks he is the guy then they should just do it now. It’s the players that need to execute, but someone has to take the fall and it’s likely going to be him. Gallant was out-coached by Lindy Ruff, the Rangers never seemed to make any adjustment on how to deal with the Devils speed and pressure, they screwed up a PP that had worked for years with Mika Zibanejad in his spot and I think it’s going to cost him his job. There is no doubt that he deserves a certain level of credit for the success the Rangers had up to now, but expectations were high for this year and they didn’t come close to meeting them, let alone exceeding them.
- Peter Laviolette coached Chris Drury with Team USA and just coached against the Rangers in the division for three years. Joel Quenneville is the biggest name they can get and while he does bring three Stanley Cups, he does bring some baggage and needs to be reinstated by the NHL. Bob Hartley coached Drury to a Stanley Cup in 2001, but he hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2016. The other Stanley Cup winning coaches that are available are Claude Julien, Dan Bylsma, Darryl Sutter was just fired today, Randy Carlyle and Mike Babcock.
- And that ends what had the potential to be a very special season. Boston is out and the East seems wide open, but they didn’t play well enough and they didn’t deserve to get a chance. My guess is that if the Rangers had found a way to win tonight that Carolina, despite their scoring struggles, would have exacted revenge from last season and eliminated the Rangers in five or six. Instead the Rangers end the season in tremendously disappointing fashion and now we wait and see what they do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again next year.