At 2:59 AM this morning, Zach sent me a text stating how he was going to write a retrospective about the Rangers' season after tonight's game. He sent me the title and everything. Clearly, he wasn't too optimistic about heading to the second round.
And with good reason.
After leading the series 3-1, the Rangers are going home early. In front of what has to be one of the loudest crowds I've ever heard, the Capitals emerged in the third period and defeated the Rangers by a score of 2-1. The Rangers were in control for much of the first two periods, but the Capitals were too much in the end. Sergei Fedorov scored with just under five minutes left and the Caps didn't let up; instead of sitting on their lead like so many teams do, Washington put so much pressure on the Rangers that they weren't even able to pull Henrik Lundqvist for an extra skater.
Zach will be by later on with more thoughts. Certainly, he'll point out that Wade Redden just sort of stood there as Fedorov shot the game-winning goal into the net. But let the record show that this was a team effort. Every player did his part to lose this series. From poor games by Lundqvist in Games 5 and 6 to the completely invisible play of team "leaders" Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, everyone is to blame. And that includes John Tortorella, who was so quick to bash Sean Avery for inappropriate behavior prior to becoming Rangers coach, but at least Avery wasn't squirting water at fans behind the bench during the middle of a playoff game.
Clearly, there will be changes. There has to be. But with the Rangers right up against the cap, it's hard to see the Rangers fielding a better team next season.