After one of their most successful regular seasons in a long time, the New York Rangers hoped at Wednesday practice upstate to carry over all the positives to a nice long run in the NHL playoffs, starting with Thursday's game against Ottawa. NY1's Kevin Garrity filed the following report.
No matter how well the New York Rangers played during the season, and with all the talk about how this might be their year for a championship, head coach John Torotorella always said none of it matters until the playoffs.
Now the playoffs are here, and at a Wednesday practice in Greenburgh, N.Y., Torotorella thought his team is ready.
"The thing I look about this group is we've been through a lot this year from the get-go and they have handled themselves very well. So I think we're ready to play," Torotorella said.
The Rangers have a lot of important pieces on their squad, but the most important part of the puzzle may be Henrik Lundqvist. Arguably the best goaltender in the league, Lundqvist has never been past the second round of the playoffs with the Rangers.
"I've been playing in Europe and winning championships there. That feeling when you're playing in the final and you've achieved something that you've been working for a long time, that's just a great feeling," said Lundqvist.
Up first for the Blueshirts will be the Ottawa Senators, a team that bets the rangers three out of four times this season. The rangers have plenty of respect for their opponent, even though they enter the playoffs as the eighth seed in the east.
"It's going to take a period of time, one game at a time. We will be successful," said Rangers forward Marion Gaborik.
"We know they have good players, they have a great offenisve line-up," said Rangers forward Brian Boyle.
"We know what we can do. Obviously they beat us in the regular season series but it's all square now," said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan.
The Rangers finished this season with 51 wins and are the top seed in the NHL Eastern Conference. The last time they finished a regular season this strong, they went on to win the Stanley Cup back in 1994.
The long road back to the cup finals begins for the Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.