Less than one month into the season, those same experts began changing their opinions and admitting New York was a good team whose identity was determination.
Now that the skeptics have been silenced for the regular season, it is time for the Rangers to prove they belong in the season that really matters—the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While their series against the Ottawa Senators looks peaceful on paper given the polar opposite seeding of the teams, there are reasons the Rangers could struggle in the first round.
This is a daunting statistic for any team potentially facing the same fate, especially since New York has struggled of late to end the regular season.
The Rangers do have one coincidence on their side—John Tortorella was the coach of the 2004 Lightning team. Can the coach fuel another run at the greatest trophy in sports?
Whether it's destiny or fate, we will find out starting Thursday.
The Rangers are not going to want to see any images such as this one at any time in this series.
New York and Ottawa squared off four times this season, and the Senators walked away with three wins. The Rangers' only win came in a 3-2 game way back in November.
Only the Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their respective season series' against the Rangers.
Two years ago the top-seeded Washington Capitals were ousted in the first round—could this be the case this year?
While Lundqvist has had a career year this season, he has struggled mightily against Ottawa.
October 29, 2011: Senators 5, Rangers 4 in a Shootout
This game saw the Rangers blow a 4-1 lead in the final ten minutes of the game. It also marked the second game in a row that Lundqvist gave up four goals.
November 9, 2011: Rangers 3, Senators 2
The Rangers were able to pull this game out thanks to a huge game by the S-A-G line (Stepan, Anisimov and Gaborik). Senators Captain Daniel Alfredsson did not play due to a concussion.
January 12, 2012: Senators 3, Rangers 0
Jason Spezza scored two goals in the game while stand-out Erik Karlsson had two assists and goalie Craig Anderson successfully shut down the Rangers offense.
March 8, 2012: Senators 4, Rangers 1
This game marked the first time all season the Rangers lost three straight games in regulation. Neither Lundqvist nor Anderson competed in this game.
These guys flat-out carried the Senators this season—almost literally.
Spezza had a career year, notching a team-leading 84 points (34 goals, 50 assists) while playing in 80 games. He did not miss any extended time for the first time in three years and was a major contributor on the power play with 10 goals.
In his four games against the Rangers this season, he totaled four goals and two assists.
Karlsson also had a career year, tallying up 78 points (19 goals, 59 assists) in 81 games played. He also had three power-play goals and five game winners in only his second season in the league.
In his four games against the Rangers this season, he had five assists.
New York will have to significantly limit the impact of these two players if they want to gain control of this series.
The captain of the Senators has been with the team for 15 years, a tenure he is unsure will continue past this season.
If Alfredsson, who was a captain at this year's All-Star Game, chooses to hang up his skates, it will not be because of a lack of production.
Alfredsson totaled 59 points this season (27 goals, 32 assists) in 75 games played. His games played totaled is his highest since the 2008-2009 campaign.
While his speed and stamina are on the decline, Alfredsson has proven to be extremely valuable to the Senators' run this season, most importantly with his leadership.
The blade on his skates may be getting dull, but this team will give everything it has to honor their captain in the same way he has worked for them for 15 years.