Rangers forward Martin St. Louis is finally comfortable at MSG, just in time for his introduction to one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL.
Any goalie can catch fire and carry a team to glory, one key injury can suddenly decimate the hopes of a legitimate Cup contender and an unheralded player can step forward and have the series of his life.
Here’s a look at 10 things to watch when the NHL playoffs begin Wednesday with a new format, some stars returning from injuries and renewed rivalries.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on April 16, and despite the new format, you can expect the same fast-paced, exciting hockey you crave this time of year.
“It’s a pretty good rivalry,” Rangers forward Brian Boyle said last week, “because we hate each other.” Here’s what you’ll need to know to set the DVR.
Brian Gionta scored on a penalty shot at 2:04 of overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers in the final NHL regular-season game for both teams Saturday night.
Rick Nash scored the winning goal with 1:42 left, on New York’s third shot of the third period, and the Rangers improved their chances for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his fourth shutout this season, and Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power-play goals late in the second period as the New York Islanders topped the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on Thursday night.
The Rangers are heading to the playoffs, thanks to the Flames. Or maybe they should be thanking the Devils, whose 1-0 loss to Calgary on Monday cemented the idle Blueshirts’ postseason berth.
Robin Lehner made 41 saves and held off a furious late push by New York to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 victory that prevented the Rangers from clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth on Saturday night.
Dainus Zubrus scored two goals and the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Saturday night.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the only goal in the shootout, lifting the Capitals to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday that kept Washington’s playoff hopes alive.
Tyson Barrie scored in the final minute of regulation, and then scored again in the shootout, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers.
Backup Cam Talbot stopped 26 shots for his third career shutout and Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello scored two goals apiece to lead the New York Rangers to their sixth win in seven games, a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
Frans Nielsen scored in the second period and then added a goal in the shootout to lift the New York Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the playoff-hopeful New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.