If you've heard this one before let me know. The New York Rangers are down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New Jersey Devils heading into New Jersey for Game 6. That's the Rangers' situation right now. That was the Rangers' situation in 1994, the last time the Rangera brought the Stanley Cup home.
And while everyone is comparing these two situations, I can't help but notice how different those 1994 Rangers were from these 2012 Rangers. I also can't help but notice how similar they are.
Back in 1994, Mark Messier had to make a guarantee. The Rangers had the best player to ever grace the sweater in Brian Leetch and another assortment of veterans and proven playoff performers to help them guide the Cup home.
And even though I think these two teams shouldn't be compared, the Rangers have a crop of players who can help guide the Cup home too.
Join me after the jump for more.
This team has the best goaltender in the game manning the pipes in Henrik Lundqvist. Key veterans who knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup in Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko (massively underrated this postseason). A trip of exciting, electrifying and brilliant youngsters in Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider. Two more top of the line defenseman in Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.
Most importantly, they're a bench who has bought into the system, down to every man.
So go ahead and tell me again why this team can't win two games in a row?
They haven't been able to get the job done this postseason? Three elimination game victories -- including one on the road in a significantly hostile environment -- begs to differ.
No killer instinct? Can't win with their backs against the wall? See above.
They have to play Game 6 on the road? The Rangers have won on the road before. In the first round they won Games 3 and 6 (an elimination game) on the road. In the second round they won Game 3 in Washington. In the Eastern Conference Finals they won Game 3 and are looking to win Game 6 Friday. They've been here before.
They aren't talented enough? Seriously? Oh, right, the Rangers got this far by accident. Sorry, I must not have been paying attention this entire year.
The team is out of juice? Didn't look that way in Game 5, now did it?
This team always breaks your heart? Nope. Not this team. This Rangers team is different. You know it, and they know it. They're not your father's New York Rangers, they're a young, home-grown machine with the right people in the right spots. You won't find any square pegs in round holes in this locker room.
You don't have faith in this team? Why not? Are you rooting for them to fail, or have the past eight months meant nothing to you?
For every reason you can give me for why this team won't get the job done, I can give you a thousand for why they will. For every reason you can give me about why you don't have faith in this team, I can give you a thousand reasons why you should.
So excuse me if I don't buy into the ideology that this team is cooked. Excuse me if I'm just not just going to roll over on Friday -- much like the New York Rangers won't -- and throw in the towel. Sorry. That's not the way I root for this team. That's also not the way this team plays.
I laugh when I see people counting the Rangers out. I really do. This is a special team, and the best part -- and also the biggest difference between this team and that 1994 team -- is that win or lose Friday, this season would be a massive success and these young core players will only get better.
But tonight isn't about the future. Tonight is about a team that has all the ability in the world to win another two elimination games, even if one is on the road.
This team believes. I believe. So should you.