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Five reasons Rangers were eliminated from playoffs

Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 10:58 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The once-promising and ultimately still successful season for the New York Rangers ended Friday at Madison Square Garden because they couldn't score.

Goals were hard to come by during most of the Rangers' run in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There were the three games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final when they combined for 17 goals at Amalie Arena, but the Rangers scored 28 goals in their other 16 games, including none in Games 5 and 7 at home in the conference final against the Lightning.

The Rangers trailed their best-of-7 second-round series against the Washington Capitals 3-1 and were down 3-2 to the Lightning. New York couldn't keep climbing.

"We could probably look back at it and say we chased too many series and we just ran out of juice," Rangers center Derek Stepan said Friday after the 2-0 loss that ended their season.

Here are five reasons the Rangers were eliminated:

Blackhawks to play Toews, Kane together in Game 7

Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 3:00 AM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Joel Quenneville prefers to balance his scoring lines, but the Chicago Blackhawks coach will opt for more horsepower at the top with one game left to decide the Western Conference Final.

The Blackhawks will start with right wing Patrick Kane playing next to center Jonathan Toews on the first line in Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I know Game 5, later in the game, they had some shifts together and I thought they were dangerous, and I thought they were really good last game as well," Quenneville said Friday after practice. "We'll start them together and we'll work it out and see what happens."

Former Rangers get Cup Final chance with Lightning

David Satriano - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan and defenseman Anton Stralman played for the New York Rangers last season. Boyle and Stralman made it to the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings, losing in five games.

On Friday, Boyle, Callahan and Stralman eliminated their former team from the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden.

The Lightning will play in their second Stanley Cup Final, against the Anaheim Ducks or Chicago Blackhawks. Tampa Bay defeated the Calgary Flames in seven games in 2004.

"Obviously it feels awesome, being able to go to the Stanley Cup Finals," said Callahan, who was Rangers captain from 2011 until he was traded to the Lightning in 2014 for Lightning captain Martin St. Louis. "The effort we put forth tonight, the way we played, it's an exciting feeling, my first trip there."

Lightning grow taller each series in run to Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Watching the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final was like watching the little brother in a reality TV series grow bigger by the game before hitting the growth spurt that sent him towering over big brother like Victor Hedman over Tyler Johnson.

The Lightning are going to the Stanley Cup Final because in the end they discovered the best way to beat big brother is to ignore his reputation, age, strength and experience, and simply just stuff your best game down his throat with confidence and bravado befitting a champion finding his way.

That's what the Lightning did Friday to win 2-0 in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. They played as close to a perfect road hockey game as possible.

"You shine the light bright on our guys, and they'll just put on sunglasses and walk right through it," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It's unreal how they respond."

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Friday, May 29

Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 1:19 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Ben Bishop made 22 saves in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2-0 win Friday at Madison Square Garden in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers, clinching their second all-time appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.

* The Lightning, who have won six of their past seven visits to the Garden (regular season and playoffs) dating to Jan. 14, 2014 (2-1 W), reached the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in their history. Tampa Bay’s previous appearance was in 2004, when they defeated the Calgary Flames in seven games to capture their first Stanley Cup.

Bishop gives Lightning goaltending they needed

David Satriano - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- All the talk going into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final was about Henrik Lundqvist, his dazzling numbers and the New York Rangers' perfect record in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

But it was Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning who ended up with a 2-0 win Friday that sent the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Final, where they will face the Chicago Blackhawks or Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 on Wednesday.

Bishop made 22 saves for his second shutout of the series; he won Game 5 here Sunday (also 2-0). Bishop is 2-0 in Game 7 in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs, and has allowed two goals on 77 shots in three elimination games.

"He's probably our MVP," Lightning forward Brian Boyle said. "He's our backbone back there. He's won us games. He's gotten us to advance. … [Bishop] stood in there and has been phenomenal."

Rangers captain McDonagh had broken foot

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh was playing through a broken foot that limited the defenseman to 17:33 of ice time in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

Coach Alain Vigneault confirmed the injury after New York's season-ending 2-0 loss.

Asked how long McDonagh's foot has been broken, Vigneault said, "A couple of games."

McDonagh did not practice Thursday, but the Rangers said the absence was a maintenance day.

McDonagh, who declined to talk about his injury after Game 7, took the warm-up and started the game on the bench. He went back to the dressing room and didn't play his first shift until 12:41 of the first period. He played two more shifts before intermission then took a regular shift through the final two periods.

For Lundqvist, Rangers, 'to come up short, it's tough'

Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 12:42 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- There was one last chant of "Hen-rik!" not the loud, insistent version that followed saves like the one he made on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson in the second period, but more like a thank you from the Madison Square Garden crowd for a playoff of brilliant goaltending.

There was one more stick wave in recognition, one last goodbye before another Stanley Cup-free summer. Then it was time for Henrik Lundqvist to bid farewell to his six-game winning streak in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and get ready for an offseason that's starting too soon.

Lundqvist and the New York Rangers came up one game short of a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final on Friday when the Lightning scored twice in the third period for a 2-0 victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final."

Blackhawks get chance for redemption in Game 7

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Almost exactly one year later, the Chicago Blackhawks still remember the sting from Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez's goal that ended their bid to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

They remember the fluttering shot from the point that found its way past goalie Corey Crawford. They remember the stunned silence inside United Center after Game 7 of the Western Conference Final ended at 5:47 of overtime. They remember the empty feeling of coming just short of playing the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

It's a feeling they've tried to erase but will carry with them into Game 7 of the 2015 conference final against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Three keys for Ducks, Blackhawks to winning Game 7

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM – The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have spent the past two weeks writing one of the most epic scripts ever authored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The first six games of the Western Conference Final have been filled with unexpected plot twists, twists of fate, heroic efforts and the occasional appearance by a villain or two.

"For sure, it's been great," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said Friday. "We've had a blast with this series, this playoff in general. Going into Game 7], I think we were well aware these are two hockey teams that have a lot of top-end talent, right through the lineup. That's one thing we were definitely looking forward to, those matchups."

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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