Coach John Tortorella has said it countless times this season -- the New York Rangers aren't the most talented team. But it's been their ability to outwork opponents consistently that has gotten them into the playoffs, and it is their work ethic that will give the Rangers their first Stanley Cup since 1994.
None of those calamities fazed the Rangers, who were in the top eight in the Eastern Conference for nearly the entire season. There's really nothing that the Rangers can face in the postseason that will shake their confidence or get them off their game.
On top of that, in Lundqvist, they have an elite goaltender in his prime. He has the ability to carry the team deep into postseason.
The Big Uh-Oh: Callahan is out indefinitely, possibly for the entire postseason. The Rangers went 10-7-2 without Callahan earlier in the season, but losing one of their biggest leaders, top scorers and most reliable penalty killers could be a problem.
Final Argument: The Rangers got by without Callahan in the regular season, and they can do it again in the playoffs. They have balanced scoring and a goaltender who will likely be a Vezina Trophy finalist. They certainly can put it all together for two months and bring the Stanley Cup back to Manhattan.
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie