Even the most unexpected joy ride can end suddenly, with a thud.
So it was in Manhattan Thursday night when the plucky Ottawa Senators, contenders in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series until the last drop of the puck, fell in seven games to the New York Rangers.
The Rangers delivered a 2-1 victory to their raucous fans, making the club a perfect 4-0 in Game 7s at MSG. They’re a grinding team, and this was the Rangers at their grinding best.
The series will go into the NHL record books as a first seed beating a No. 8, but that scoreline won’t represent how close the Senators were to an upset, at least until the critical moments of Game 7. Though the stage suddenly looked too big for some of Ottawa’s players, and not just the kids, either, in the end the Senators lacked nothing more than a big play late in the game. They fully...