The New York Rangers, after scraping and clawing through inconsistent hockey during the months of March and April, are in the NHL playoffs.  They would do themselves a favor, however, by not getting the 8-seed and avoid the Penguins in the first round.  Here are five reasons why the Rangers will be dangerous in the playoffs no matter what:

  1. Henrik Lundqvist.  He is the best goalie in the world.  And when on, King Henrik can steal games.  The Rangers came so close last year to the Cup Finals until the Devils bested them, the Blueshirts didn't score and Lundqvist was outplayed by Martin Brodeur.  The Rangers netminder surely has those memories in his head still.  That helps New York.  And when you have the goalie, it is like a pitcher in baseball.  One of the most important positions in sports.
  2. John Tortorella.  The guy knows how to motivate players this time of year.  And he has a Stanley Cup title to his name.  Any questions?
  3. Weak East.  It is the Bruins and Penguins.  From there?  Wide-open.  Montreal hasn't sold anyone since 1993.  If the Rangers can pull one upset along the way, why can't they win Lord Stanley?
  4. Rick Nash.  The Rangers couldn't score last year in the postseason.  Nash is a dynamic player who can score on all units and can change a game with one rush.  He's hungry to play in the playoffs as well, having been stuck in woeful Columbus for his entire career before arriving on Broadway.
  5. Madison Square Garden.  Gone are most hockey arenas with home ice advantage and character.  Not the Garden.  The place gets loud and is a tough place to play when the Rangers have it going.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike,"1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on @Twitter @MikeLSports.