LOS ANGELES Two decades since winning their last Stanley Cup, the New York Rangers will have to wait at least one more season before bringing the Cup back to the Big Apple after falling to the Los Angeles Kings four games to one.
"You go into this hoping that you don't regret anything," said coach Alain Vigneault. "We put it out there. We gave our best shot, best effort. Three games here all went to OT. What can I say?"
"It’s tough to go all the way to the end and not win," said right wing Martin St. Louis. "There’s no doubt about it."
Swedish goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist shone once again, stopping 48 shots on goal in just shy of 100 minutes of play but the last one, fired by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, ended the game nearly 15 minutes into the second overtime.
"I feel like I’ve done everything I could to prepare to try to help the team," Lundqvist said. "It’s not enough against this team."
The sublime goaltending ran out for the Rangers in overtime.
"This is the worst feeling you can have as a hockey player," said defenseman Marc Staal. "Haven’t felt anything worse."
Three of the five games went to overtime, including the series clincher.
"It’s pretty hard to lose that way, seeing them celebrate," center Derick Brassard said. "We had a great run, but at the end of the day, we wanted to win, and that’s the hardest part."
Despite the quick series out, this was the furthest New York had advanced in the playoffs since 2012. Though it ended in heartbreak, Vigneault compiled a successful first season as the Rangers coach.
"Well, obviously everybody's very disappointed in the outcome," he said. "That being said, I think in a couple of days, you know, we're going to reflect.
"I mean, every inch on the ice was contested real hard. You know, both teams were battling at an unreal level. Tough loss."
(Reporting by Will Robinson; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)