New York Rangers: Bittersweet night ends with hope for Rangers

New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers took the full two points in a gritty, hard-fought win up in Toronto vs the Maple Leafs, however, they were officially eliminated from the playoffs minutes later. Overall, be proud of the bittersweet night.

The New York Rangers were able to end a five game losing streak on Saturday night. While we are at a point in the season where the losses will have more of a long-term payoff than the wins, the Rangers still should be proud of what they accomplished on Saturday night. Beating the Maple Leafs in Toronto is no easy task, but it was finally the kids who helped them get the job done, albeit in overtime.

However, the win unfairly also came with getting eliminated in the playoffs by virtue of a Canadiens win on the very same night. It was truly a wild, bittersweet sequence of events that defined the entire season.

The Rangers, while never were the worst team, were also not a great team. As each game went one the learning curve became too much to overcome and the formula for success became less and less clear.

Furthermore, the motive was always the same. Let the kids play. It was always that simple. Alexandar Georgiev, who had a brilliant game vs the Maple Leafs making 44 saves out of 45 attempts, has been getting valuable reps and playing time as part of what is becoming a true goaltending tandem, learning the ropes alongside the iconic Henrik Lundqvist.

Filip Chytill is still a teenager, and say what you want about his roller coaster of a season, but he has managed to end up with 10 goals and 11 assists. Filling up both stats in the double digits with games left to be played.

And it was the youth again coming through in what could end up being the Rangers last big win of the season. Not only were the Rangers backed by Georgiev’s 44 saves, they got a goal from Pavel Buchnevich as he continues to emerge as a future piece on this team. With his goal, he continued to pad to his total, 18, which extends the most he has had in his career in one season.

The overtime winner was only possible due to a great sequence of saves by Georgiev. It was Boo Nieves and Ryan Strome working magic to hit the back of the net and give the Rangers the point.

The Rangers as a team were just way more physical in this game. They out hit the Maple Leafs and defended for their lives. They played like the more desperate team, not their opponents who are actually going to the playoffs.

For the Rangers fans who want to tank, still be happy about this win. The Rangers cannot lose them all and if you are going to pick a dream win for a young team still fighting to the very end, this was perfect.

The Rangers were led by all the younger guys, the players who are trying to prove they belong, in addition to the Ryan Strome career revival tour.

Yes, the Rangers are now officially eliminated from the playoffs, but that just means this season has come full circle. Nobody thought the Rangers would make the playoffs, I even knew it in the beginning of the season where they were still somehow winning games despite always playing like their lives depend on it. The talent simply ran out. The kids spent a lot of time learning, and Coach Quinn spent a lot of time teaching, all of it hindered the results.

But on a night where the playoff window was officially closed, the Rangers managed to show the grit they have had all year. David Quinn got results from his team on the road in a big game to show that what he is doing is working.

Perhaps the real story of the night for the Rangers is the official elimination from the playoffs, after all, that is the reason I am writing about one particular game, something that is unusual otherwise.

I mean, they have won just once in the last six games so elimination after ending that losing streak makes sense. But two things we all should have expected happened on one night. The Rangers missed the playoffs, and all the youth’s hard work to end the season strong and win paid off. That is going to happen once in a while.

I still wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Rangers are well on their way to being great one day, that we just don’t know. But what did happen, was this team finally won a game they deserved to win, they won a game in which they played better than their opponent. It was led by the core of the youth movement. But in spite of it all, they still ended up getting knocked out of the playoffs on a night where they won.

That is simply symbolic to the fact that no matter what they did or how hard they tried, the playoffs were never supposed to happen this year. What was supposed to happen this year is also what we saw Saturday. Grinding wins and a night where they can just be proud of themselves for doing the simple things right.

Next. Where the Islanders might have truly failed this year. dark

Is the Rangers rebuild on track? That I do not know yet. However, they reminded us that it could end up being the best rebuild ever. Still getting lottery picks while having young talent actually play like they have something to prove and getting a big win once in a while? Sign me up for that.