Tampa – Chris Crieder He sat in his chair at the post-match press conference, trying with everything he had left to keep his poise while his eyes looked fine. To the right of the New York Rangers striker was his teammate Mika Zibanjad Leaning forward toward the microphone, his voice was calm, his energy completely fading away.
“I feel like denying this now,” Zibanjad said. “I don’t know. I don’t have much to say honestly. It’s just, blank. I don’t want it to end.”
It’s over for Rangers.
A team that built its season and ran the Stanley Cup playoffs on its resilience, on its ability to come back, and to beat the odds, ran out of gas against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference final.
The Rangers season and Stanley Cup dreams ended on Saturday with a 2-1 loss in Game Six at the Amalie Arena. He finished with his first four-game losing streak of the season.
“Blank,” Crieder said of his feelings. “Obviously, very sad.”
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Over time, the Rangers will have a perspective on what they have accomplished.
They will realize the importance of reaching the Eastern Conference Final, being two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final. They will understand that after a few years of rebuilding they have arrived in a big way this season.
They were legitimate competitors. Barring a disaster, they will be for several more seasons.
But now is not the time. Perspective doesn’t come to you 20 minutes after your season ends and your dreams are shattered.
“Right now, it’s not easy,” Devinsman Jacob Troup He said. “Think about it and think, but right now, it’s not a good feeling.”
Rangers played 20 games in 40 days in the playoffs. They needed seven games to get rid of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round and seven more games to beat the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
They scored nine goals in winning their first two matches against the Lightning. They even led 2-0 in the third game.
But the well dried up.
New York scored one goal in each of the last three games, one goal with equal strength.
Coach Gerard Gallant said fatigue from a long playoff run, from playing every two days, was a factor.
“There is no doubt that it appeared,” he said. “There are no real breaks. I would have loved to have taken a couple of days off tonight. It was the first time. It would have been cool. But that’s how it is.”
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Game seven will be Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Rangers needed to give more than they had left in Game 6 to make it happen.
Tampa Bay dominated the game from start to finish, minus a sneak peek when Frank Vatrano He scored the goal of the power of play for New York to draw 1-1 in 13:07 of the third half.
Stephen Stamkos He scored after 21 seconds to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead.
Rangers mustered another shot on goal in the 6:32 final, and Artemi Banarin His wrist from inside the left point Vasilevsky sent into the corner with his blocker.
“It’s a big, big defensive team,” Gallant said. They surround you really well. And they do a good job. Our focus was trying to fight to get there and get tired, there’s no doubt in my mind.”
Zipanjad will not go there.
“There was no fatigue,” the striker said. “I mean, these are the games we all want to play. I feel like we’ve got enough rest between matches. It has nothing to do with fatigue.”
Then it was all about Lightning and how they defended the Rangers, leaving them looking tired as they couldn’t get to the front of the grid or generate anything out of the rush.
Zipanegad has had no points in his last three games having scored 13 (seven goals, six assists) in eight consecutive points.
It was the same for the defense man Adam Fox: No points in his last three games having scored 13 (2 goals, 11 assists) in eight consecutive points.
Kreider hasn’t had any points in the last two games. He did not shoot on goal in the sixth game.
Philip Shettle He hasn’t had a point in his last four matches; The striker has scored six (five goals, one pass) in the previous four.
Ryan Strom Game 4 cannot be played due to a lower body injury. The striker worked through two shifts on Saturday before finally having to shut it down due to the same injury.
“It is clear that the men are tired,” said Trouba. “It’s a lot of hockey in a short amount of time. It’s a challenging physical hockey game as well. A lot of players put some brave effort into playing with injuries and putting them to the test.”
The Rangers felt they could do it again, and that they could force Game 7 to show their resilience again.
They did so in the regular season with 27 wins. They did so in the first round, losing 3-1 against the Penguins before coming back for the win. They did in the second round, coming back from a 3-2 loss against the Hurricanes.
“I didn’t do it this round,” Crieder said.
The tank was empty.