NEWARK, NJ - MAY 25: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes a save against the New Jersey Devils in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on May 25, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers' season is over, but the second guessing has just begun.
The New York Rangers will spend the rest of the offseason wondering what might have been.
If Brad Richards had been able to connect with a loose puck in overtime in front of the New Jersey net. If Henrik Lundqvist had been able to find one more save. If the club hadn't allowed the Devils to dominate the first period. If Artem Anisimov had been able to connect on a third period breakaway. If Brian Boyle could have won a few more faceoffs. If New York's late power play had connected, instead of crumbling away.
That second guessing is likely to extend to John Tortorella, who must wonder if his attempts to fire up his bench after another early deficit backfired, or if his decision to lean on Dan Girardi and Marc Staal for over 25 minutes played into the final defensive breakdown that led to Adam Henrique's game winning goal.
After a postseason where the top-seeded club failed to score more than two goals a game on multiple occasions, particularly in the Conference Final series, it's only natural to wonder if the addition of a perennial 30-plus goal scorer might have made a difference.
That said, it can't be said that this was a bad season for the Rangers. A Winter Classic victory, an Atlantic division title and an impressive run through the postseason ... but when it mattered most, they fell short.