The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers are already linked in NHL history because of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, a series that the Blueshirts won.
Here in 2012, the two teams are in the same discussion again, but for all the wrong reasons.
Both finished atop their respective conferences and both find themselves on the brink of elimination: New York trails the Ottawa Senators 3-2 and the Los Angeles Kings have jumped out to a 3-1 series lead on the Canucks.
I think the Rangers have a better chance of reversing their fortunes, and not just because their deficit is only one game. Unlike Vancouver, New York has played with a lot more grit and desperation. That being said, it's still a daunting task.
You can't blame Daniel Sedin's absence if you're the Canucks. That team is still very dangerous, even without No. 22 in the lineup. Roberto Luongo was benched but he's not the reason Vancouver trails, either. Cory Schneider is better than him, but Luongo certainly gave his team a chance when he was in net.
The Canucks don't seem to have any response to LA's physical, aggressive style. Of course, Jonathan Quick's superhuman performance between the pipes has to be giving opposing shooters nightmares right now. They've yet to solve him.
As for the Rangers, I think there are a whole bunch of factors that play into the situation we've got here.
Ottawa's speed has been difficult for the Blueshirts to keep up with. The absence of Carl Hagelin obviously put them at a disadvantage, but at the end of the day, his presence wouldn't be enough to neutralize the skating prowess throughout this Senators lineup.
Something we didn't necessarily expect was that Craig Anderson would match Henrik Lundqvist save for save. We knew Anderson was good, but Henrik's been the better goaltender and should've given the Rangers an edge. Last night, New York peppered the Sens goalie with 41 shots; he stopped every last one of 'em.
The Rangers have also been off their game at times, especially (and most importantly) late in the third period. They've been blocking shots and making strong defensive plays, which has been their M.O. all year. They've failed to convert those turnovers into scoring chances, however.