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Why They Will Win

Rangers will use speed, Henrik Lundqvist to win Cup

Goaltending, defensive depth, mix of rookies, veterans bring championship to New York

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

The New York Rangers put together a team that could win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season after getting a first-hand look at a championship team last season.

The Rangers have all three, which will be enough to win the Stanley Cup.

New York is deeper than they were a year ago with a four-line forward rotation that rivals any in the NHL. 


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They have power with Chris Kreider, Rick Nash and J.T. Miller on the wings, potentially on different lines. Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello are playmakers on what can be a dominant top line with Kreider, who has simplified his game and is dangerous around the net.

Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes are big centers who distribute, score and play down low. Zibanejad and Miller have heavy shots off of the wall on the power play. Michael Grabner pushes the defense back with his speed, including in shorthanded situations.

Rookies Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich are wildcards with great skill who have, at times, shown their dominant abilities, particularly Buchnevich's shot from below the dots.

Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast are reliable on a fast fourth line that could include either Vesey or Buchnevich. The Rangers can use Lindberg and Fast in shutdown roles.

Coach Alain Vigneault will have nine defensemen to choose from to fill the six spots. He might have to scratch Dan Girardi or Kevin Klein, which speaks to the depth.

Ryan McDonagh will play a strong 25-27 minutes per game, but a key to the defense is rookie Brady Skjei, who has been playing more than 17 minutes per game and on the second power play unit. He could see a bump in his ice time in the playoffs.

Marc Staal and Nick Holden give the Rangers length in front of the net to knock down seam passes. When they do, the Rangers are able to transition, using their speed to get the puck into the offensive zone.

Video: PHI@NYR: Lundqvist flashes leather on Giroux in 3rd

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist hasn't had an All-Star season, but he's still among the best in the NHL and is capable of stealing a game or a series. Lundqvist, who won more than 30 games, should be rested after missing eight games in March with a hip injury.

The Rangers have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the third period, an indication that they're never out of a game or can build on a lead.

They had the most road wins in the NHL this season and ended their eight-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden on April 2, giving them time to feel good at home going into the playoffs.

And perhaps the best news is the Rangers finished fourth in the Metropolitan Division, meaning they moved out of a bracket that features the three best teams in the Eastern Conference (Penguins, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets) and arguably the entire NHL.

The Rangers' road is paved. They have the ingredients to win the Stanley Cup, and they will.

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