Plenty of stats illustrate how bad tonight was for New York.
There was the score, 5-0.
There were the three goals allowed by Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, just the fourth time in his 114 playoff games that’s happened.
There was the power play, which went scoreless on the night and is now 1-for-14 in the series.
But sometimes, numbers can only tell part of the story. Sometimes, you need a seething head coach to really explain it.
So enter Rangers bench boss Alain Vigneault!
After eliminating the Penguins in each of the last two postseasons, the Rangers are now one loss away from Pittsburgh ending theirs. And while the Blueshirts do have some history on their side — remember, in 2014, they were down 3-1 to the Pens as well — Thursday’s debacle makes it tough to think this group is capable of a comeback.
If there’s one major difference between this series and the two prior, it’s Henrik Lundqvist.
The Swedish ‘tender has tormented the Penguins on numerous occasions but, in this series, not so much. There have been mitigating factors — his injury in the series opener, for example — but Game 4 was about as low as it gets: Lundqvist lasted just 24 minutes, allowing four goals on 18 shots, before he was pulled in favor of Antti Raanta.
Lundqvist, of course, isn’t the only culprit for New York.
Eric Staal‘s struggled through a forgettable series, pointless after four games with a ghastly minus-6 rating. Say what you will about the merit of plus-minus, it’s not a good look. J.T. Miller has yet to find the back of the net, and the bottom-six forward group has given zero offensively.
That’s probably Vigneault wasn’t about to start singling out players. The Rangers, collectively, are struggling.
“This is definitely a team loss,” he said, per WFAN 660. “I’m not going to single out one individual. As a whole group, we had a hard time.”