Beyond The Benches

Top 5 Reasons Why The New York Rangers Are Done

The New York Rangers illustrious post-season run has ended.  Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored at 14:43 of the second overtime period to defeat the Rangers in Game 5 by a score of 3-2 which lifted the Kings to their second Stanley Cup Championship in three years.  The Rangers made the Kings earn this championship and it was much closer than a five-game series would normally indicate.

Here are the Top Five Reasons the New York Rangers are eliminated.

5.  Adjustments To Rangers’ Speed–  In Games 1 and 2 New York’s quickness seemed to catch Los Angeles off-guard.  Speedy forwards like Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot were winning races to the puck.  Also, the Kings looked fatigued at times during the opening two games in Los Angeles. After all, they had just completed three consecutive seven-game series.  However, Los Angeles adjusted in Game 3 and minimized offensive north-south rushes along the boards.  After Game 2, New York struggled breaking-out of their defensive zone.  The Kings were able to match the Rangers’ speed which no other team in the Eastern Conference managed to do.

4.  Big Bodies For Los Angeles– The Kings roster is loaded with size.  NBC Sports play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick mentioned multiple times throughout this series that each of the Kings’ four offensive lines weighs over 600-pounds combined.  The Rangers had to deal with heavy-hitting in the first-round with Philadelphia, but Los Angeles was relentless in the checking-department.  Constant checking from players like Dustin Brown, Dwight King, Kyle Clifford, etc took away the Rangers’ energy and ultimately led to costly turnovers.

3. Jonathan Quick– This was the first series for New York where they faced a superstar goaltender.  The Rangers battled against Philadelphia Flyers backup goaltender Ray Emery for the better part of the first round, played against a shaky Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the semifinals and then progressed to shoot against third-string backup Dustin Tokarski with the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals.  It is debatable who really had the goaltender advantage in this series.  Henrik Lundqvist faced more shots, but Jonathan Quick got the job done and is celebrating the second Stanley Cup Championship of his career.  Quick bailed out his Kings teammates on numerous occasions in Game 5 as well as in earlier games. Jonathan Quick has certainly earned the nickname “The King” as much as Henrik Lundqvist.

2. Rangers’ Top Forwards Not Stepping Up–  Where was Rick Nash for the Rangers during these playoffs? Nash had zero points in the final round.  New York’s Head Coach Alain Vigneault was forced to demote center Brad Richards to the fourth line, opting to play Dominic Moore ahead of the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy winner.  The offensive unit of Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello carried the offense for the better half of the playoffs with Martin St. Louis, Dominic Moore, and Brian Boyle chipping in here and there.  Your best players, have to be the best players to win a Stanley Cup.

1. The Kings Are Better–  The Rangers left it all out on the ice, but most hockey experts predicted this series being a short one before it even started.  The Kings team is deeper in skill and in experience.  This was evident during most of the third periods throughout this series.  Los Angeles would dominate entire periods at a time while the Rangers would hang on for dear life and hope that Henrik Lundqvist would make the necessary saves.  This is why the Kings outshot the Rangers in every game except Game 3 and why the Kings are the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions.


James Stolfi is a hockey fan/ former goalie turned journalist from the New York metro area. A recent college graduate, majoring in Digital Media/Broadcast Production. He can be contacted on twitter @JamesStolfi.