New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault declared that their loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the finals will stick and haunt them for some time.
“With some of the looks we had to score, I firmly believe that if we get that done, win Game 5, I know in L.A. they didn’t believe in momentum, but I thought we would’ve had a little momentum there,” Vigneault said. “But we didn’t get it done.”
The Rangers blew a 2-0 lead in Game 1 and leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 in Game 2. Vigneault felt like his team played its best game of the series in Game 3, but New York was blanked by Los Angeles despite holding a 32-15 edge in shots.
The Rangers won Game 4 despite being outshot 41-19, but were eliminated in Game 5 on Kings defenseman Alec Martinez’ rebound goal in double-overtime.
Prior to Martinez’s series-winning tally, New York winger Rick Nash had an open net, but his shot was deflected by the stick of Los Angeles defenseman Slava Voynov.
“It was a struggle. It was frustrating. I wish I could’ve produced a lot more, but I didn’t get the job done that I definitely wanted to,” said Nash, who was held without a goal or a point despite taking 18 shots.
“It was probably one of the most frustrating times of my career during this playoff stretch, not being able to produce,” he added.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who carried the Rangers throughout their unlikely run to the finals, still seemed dejected as he addressed reporters at his locker.
“I really tried to challenge myself to leave everything out there,” said Lundqvist, who posted a .923 save percentage during the series. “You learn a lot from it and you appreciate those moments, for sure, but it’s gonna be a couple weeks now where it’s gonna hurt a little bit, there’s no question about it.”
The Rangers weren’t expected to advance as far as they did, not after they started the regular season 16-18-2 under new coach Alain Vigneault. But they turned it around from there, really taking off after the Olympic break.
They won their first two playoff rounds in seven games — coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to advance past the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 2. The Rangers won the Eastern Conference finals 4-2 over the Montreal Canadiens before getting eliminated by the Kings, who won their second title in the last three seasons.