It took the New York Rangers seven games, and they only barely managed to come away with a 2-1 victory on Thursday, but they’ve succeeded. They’re going to the second round.
“They should be real proud of themselves,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “For about an hour.”
Yes, because ultimately getting past the first round was never the goal. The Rangers finished the season with the top seed in the Eastern Conference and won more games than any team still standing. A long playoff run is the expectation, although to accomplish that they’ll have to get through the Washington Capitals. Washington dispatched them in five games last season, but a lot has changed over the last year.
“They’re a team that’s a lot like we are,” Henrik Lundqvist told PHT’s Joe Yerdon. “It’s going to be a hard series.”
The Rangers have already experienced one of those in their playoff run and so have the Capitals for that matter. Then again, there aren’t many easy playoff series anymore.