to be too much for the Rangers in the end. The Rangers' season ended without their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since their last championship season in 1994, with Devils rookie Adam Henrique's scramble goal 63 seconds into overtime sending the Rangers, who had overcome a two-goal first-period hole, to a crushing 3-2 loss in Newark. "It's hard. It felt like so many things happened during the year made it feel like it was something special, like they were signs that something good was coming, something exciting," said Henrik Lundqvist, who played so much better in these playoffs than his 10-10 final record would indicate. "I'm going to sit down and try to learn something from this. It's shocking, it's always shocking, it doesn't matter how it ends. "When it's over, it's an empty feeling, it's weird, it's all over. I'm probably going to be pretty tired for a couple of weeks. It's shocking when it's over, and it's really disappointing." Under fiery coach John Tortorella, the Rangers captured the Eastern Conference title in the regular season with a penchant for blocking shots and clutch moments. But nothing came easy for them in the playoffs, including a pair of seven-game series victories in the first two rounds against No. 8 Ottawa and No. 7 Washington. "I love our jam. I love our (guts). I really like what we have here," Tortorella said after his team was eliminated Friday. "I don't think it will be the same. There's always changes. But what they have -- what our group has developed in their identity, their mindset, I think showed tonight. Again, we don't get it done, but I just like the way they handle themselves." Still, slow starts to games quickly became a common theme for the Rangers, particularly in the conference finals against the relentless rival Devils. Lundqvist allowed five combined goals in the first periods of the final two losses in Game 5 and Game 6. The Rangers stormed back to tie each time, but they wound up losing each of them in dramatic fashion, including a crazy scramble in front of Lundqvist that left him and others face down on the ice after Henrique buried the game-winner Friday night. "Unfortunately, overtime, this is what happens," Lundqvist said. "A big scramble, a weird bounce, you just hope it won't be us. It's just such a terrible feeling when it's over, all the work you put in the last couple of months, the last eight months even, it hurts. "You wish you did it differently, but you just have to learn something from it. It's going to take me a while to get over it."
- Henrik Lundqvist
- Adam Henrique