2012 NHL Playoffs: Rangers Vs. Senators - It Begins

Apr. 1, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring his 40th goal of the season during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

It's the NHL Playoffs, where every fan who is lucky enough to cheer for a team who made the second season gets to watch the greatest show in sports.

But tonight is different.

This isn't just the playoffs, this is the playoffs in New York.

This is the Garden being packed to capacity well before the game even starts. It's "let's go Rangers" chants loud enough to blow the doors off the house 45 minutes before the game even starts. The crowd revving up like a 747 getting ready to take off when the players take the ice. It's the crowd cheering so loud during the end of the National Anthem that you have no idea when it ends. It's the emotions after every big fight, the explosion after every goal, the joy after every win. It's the fear of a loss, it's your heart skipping a beat when the other team hits the post. It's you realizing that 18,200 people are standing as one to praise Henrik Lundqvist after every big save. It's giving a standing ovation for every penalty kill. It's the roar of every scoring chance. It's going home after a huge playoff win and having to blast the car radio to hear music since it was so loud at the Garden you are hard of hearing. It's suffering through every moment of an overtime. It's the soul-crushing feeling when they lose. The best feeling in the world when they win. It's the final seconds before a win, when the place is going nuts, everyone is standing and all the towels are spinning. It's the overwhelming feeling that every jersey in the rafters is looking down on you. The understanding that every moment in New York is special, that it's simply bigger in Madison Square Garden.

It's New York Rangers playoff hockey, there is simply nothing like it. Anywhere. Period.

I'm getting the chills writing about it. Imagine what it will be like there tonight.

And it begins tonight.

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