NEW YORK -- The Philadelphia Flyers have lived up to their billing as the Broad Street Bullies for decades. As the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, what exactly is the identity of the New York Rangers, who the Flyers meet Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) at Madison Square Garden?
Alain Vigneault has reshaped that identity since replacing John Tortorella as coach last summer, turning the Rangers into a team reliant on depth and chemistry at every position. That refusal to alter his lines and insistence on rolling four forward combinations and six defensemen keyed New York's run to the postseason and could be the difference against Philadelphia.
"That was the game plan in an Olympic year with having the Olympians go and the tightened schedule, especially down the stretch in March," forward Brad Richards said. "There was a reason why we were able to play good hockey, and I think that everybody was spread out and had responsibilities and we weren't [running] on fumes coming in."