The play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist keyed New York's road to the postseason, but the similarities to past Rangers teams generally end there. The 2013-14 Rangers were propelled by some relatively fresh faces that excelled once they adjusted to the new plan installed by incoming coach Alain Vigneault.
It's an impressive turnaround considering the difficult transition New York had to make at the start of the season. There was a new coach, a new system, a number of players entering their first full season with the team and even a newly-renovated Madison Square Garden. That transition was magnified by a season-opening nine-game road trip on which New York went 3-6-0.
Six months after that challenging trip, the Rangers sit second in the Metropolitan Division. They are two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers, who hold a game in hand and could face New York in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Here are five reasons the Rangers are headed back to the playoffs.