It's Not About What the Rangers Are, It's About What They Aren't - NBC New York

It's Not About What the Rangers Are, It's About What They Aren't

Lack of talent has caught up to Rangers.



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    The Rangers sounded all the right notes on Thursday when discussing Game Five against the Capitals.

    They spoke of their belief in themselves, their confidence in playing with their backs against the wall and their guarantee that they would come to play on Saturday afternoon. You'd expect that from any team, but you don't always believe it as strongly as you do with these Rangers.

    Effort and intensity haven't been big problems for the Rangers this season and there isn't much doubt that they'll show up for Game Five. Believing they will make a game of it is a lot different than believing they will win the game, however.

    That scenario is a lot harder to wrap your head around. No matter which way you slice up the matchup between the Rangers and the Capitals, it is impossible to find an angle that leaves you with anything other than a view of a massive talent gap.

    That's what accounted for Wednesday night's comeback victory for the Caps. They were able to flip a switch that took them from being a defensively minded outfit to the attacking crew that they were in the last two seasons.

    Shot after shot flew at Henrik Lundqvist while the Rangers scrambled and scrambled and failed to stem the tide with any onslaught of their own. It wasn't from a lack of trying, mind you, it was simply more than they could muster against a team that was able to turn their game up a notch when the moment demanded nothing less.

    The final 50-plus minutes on Wednesday made that clear, but it is hardly the only indicator of where the Rangers fall short. They are now 1-of-18 on the power play in the series, something that simply does not happen to teams that have gifted players on their roster.

    That's not the Rangers, not yet anyway, and that shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to them this season. Teams that have more going for them than effort and energy don't have to wait until the last day of the season to make the playoffs and they don't go through scoring droughts that reach double digits.

    None of this means the Rangers can't win on Saturday. They've already proven they can beat the Capitals during this series.

    Beating them three straight times, though? Hard to see that happening with the talent currently on hand.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.