The NHL Playoffs are quite easily the most grueling and mentally draining of the North American sports postseasons. You don’t win Lord Stanley’s Cup by accident; you sacrifice everything to obtain it.
Every night you play the most important game of the season, and if you don’t leave it all on the ice, you've got no shot.
But as much as winning the Stanley Cup is about effort, you can’t win without talent. Players with game-breaking ability are essential to any team that hopes to even get a sniff of hockey’s Holy Grail. They’re the ones who break the deadlock the playoffs so often present and lift their teams to glory.
You can have all the heart and determination you want, but without your best players playing at the top of their games, you can forget it.
The Rangers are no different.
In the first round against Washington, some of New York’s top guns were at their best: for example, Henrik Lundqvist and Dan Girardi. But others—Rick Nash and Brad Richards, I’m looking at you—were so far from their best, it almost cost the team the series. The Rangers were fortunate to make it out, honestly.
In their second-round series against the Boston Bruins—or any other series they may or may not find themselves in—that can’t happen. The stars, and all of them, have to come to play.
So before the series begins, we’ll take a look at the Rangers’ six high-profile players and the expectations they must meet for the Rangers to advance to the third round.