NEW YORK -- There will certainly be a lot on the mind of Los Angeles Kings right wing Marian Gaborik when he steps on the Madison Square Garden ice against the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Gaborik, who leads the NHL with 13 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, spent three-plus seasons with the Rangers before general manager Glen Sather traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for forwards Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard and defenseman John Moore. Gaborik scored 114 goals and 229 points in 255 regular-season games with the Rangers. He added six goals and 13 points in 25 postseason games.
"This is my first time coming back to the Garden after I got traded [by the Rangers], so I'm going to see the Garden after all the renovations for the first time as well," said Gaborik, who was shipped from New York to the Columbus Blue Jackets in April 2013. "They have great fans and they'll be supporting them. They're going to come out hard.
"I don't think I've met or talked to any player who didn't like to play at the Garden. The building has a lot of history and everybody that goes to play there has that extra jump. Just looking at the building, it has an energy. You want to be in there and want to just play. Our guys will have energy and want to play strong."
The Kings lead the best-of-7 series 2-0. Gaborik, Kings coach Darryl Sutter and other players spoke to the media upon their arrival in New York on Sunday afternoon.
Gaborik played 34 games with the Blue Jackets and had nine goals and 22 points before he was acquired by the Kings at the 2014 Trade Deadline in exchange for forward Matt Frattin, a 2013 second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick.
The trade has obviously proven to be one of the most significant deadline-day transactions of the season. After scoring five goals and 16 points in 19 regular-season games, the 32-year-old Gaborik now finds himself two goals shy of tying Wayne Gretzky's single-year postseason franchise record (15) set in 1993.
"It's obviously nice to be up there but this is a team game and I'm grateful to be in my first Stanley Cup Final in as many years as I've been in the League," said Gaborik, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. "To play the Rangers makes it more special. They have a good team, a balanced team and obviously the coaching change for them seemed to help.
"Entering the Garden [on Monday] will be special."