Much like the players who go onto the ice at Madison Square Garden, John Brancy does the same. Except for him, his performance lasts only 90 seconds.

The chance for the 35-year-old Grammy Award-winning operatic baritone to take center stage at one of the most famous arenas and set the table with his powerful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the New York Rangers play in front of 18,000 people is an opportunity he does not take lightly.

"I love embracing my fandom here and I love embracing this team," Brancy said recently when he joined "Sunday Brunch" on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio. "New York City is, for me, the greatest city in the world because I do a lot of performing here, at Carnegie Hall, I just wrapped a couple of shows at the famous Cafe Carlyle, so there are so many things here in New York that make it my home and my musical home. I love embracing that, so I embrace the teams and I embrace my Rangers."

Brancy began singing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden during the 2022-23 season after being approached by a friend, a musical theatre agent who was putting together a group of people who would rotate through the season. Brancy was the first to be asked back for a second performance, which came Jan. 28, 2022, the day Henrik Lundqvist had his No. 30 retired.

He had never performed the anthem at a professional sports game before his first appearance at the Garden. Fans have embraced Brancy in return.

What a way to start.

"It's become an amazing experience for me as a performer to get to sing our national anthem and the Canadian national anthem at the games," Brancy said, "but the thing that keeps sticking with me is the fans, how much they are supporting of the version I'm doing and the team and administration and how supportive everyone has been. It's been an amazing run so far and I'm so, so happy to have been able to do this."

Brancy grew up in Harrison Township, New Jersey, but has spent more than half his life in New York since he began studying at The Juilliard School in 2007. It was at that time he started becoming a Rangers fan.

"I attended a couple games since I was going to school," Brancy said. "I'm actually from South Jersey, so I've got a little bit of a torn thing going on with my parents and some of my friends."

The power with which Brancy sings does not come by accident. Though he admits he is blessed with natural ability, he goes through a full vocal warmup prior to each appearance at the Garden, much like the players go through their warmup routine ahead of each game.

"I see my voice like an instrument," Brancy said. "I take it very, very seriously. Sometimes like when a player gets injured, they have to take time off. We're kind of like athletes because we are using a part of our body to the absolute maximum and needing endurance and stamina and all that kind of stuff."

The beauty of Brancy's performances is that they are not all the same. If you listen carefully, you will notice subtle differences in the way he delivers the anthem as he looks to tailor it to match the energy of the crowd.

"The last game we played, Game 2, I knew the stakes were really high (with the Rangers trailing the Eastern Conference Final 1-0 to the Florida Panthers)," Brancy said. "At the start the series in Game 1, I came out with a lot of positivity, a smile on my face, but that changes. It changes from game to game. I just felt a different energy from the fans, different energy from the moment and being a performer, I can sense those things, I can feel those things, I'm very acutely aware of that energy and I brought a completely different vibe to the anthem."

In Game 2, there was no smile when he walked to his spot. Instead, a look of determination and urgency and, somehow, a delivery with even more power and command that he hoped would carry over to the Rangers once the game began.

It did. Vincent Trocheck scored at 4:12 of the first period to put New York ahead 1-0. Barclay Goodrow scored the game-winning goal at 14:01 of overtime for a 2-1 win, tying the best-of-7 series 1-1.

With Game 5 back at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC), the Rangers will look to take a 3-2 lead after the Panthers pulled even with a 3-2 OT win in Game 4.

Before the action begins on the ice, Brancy will do his best to live up to the magnitude of the moment.

"Going forward, I'm going to sense that (energy)," he said. "I'm going to feel that before I get onto the ice so that I can deliver the team and the fans the appropriate energy for the moment. As we get further and further into the Eastern Conference Final, we're going to need more of that hyper-focused energy every time."