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5 Ways the New York Rangers Can Guarantee a First-Round Win

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New York Rangers

New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are going to have a tough first round matchup. They will play either the Philadelphia Flyers or the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both teams are rivals of the Rangers, albeit the Flyers are worse enemies. The Rangers first round series will be one of the best of the playoffs. Here are five ways the Rangers can guarantee a first-round win.

5. Score the First Goal

Rapheal Diaz New York Rangers Road Record
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

5. Score the First Goal

Raphael Diaz New York Rangers Jersey
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring the first goal is crucial in any hockey game, but especially in the playoffs. It can help take the crowd out of a game if you are on the road or help get the crowd going if you are at home. Statistically, the Rangers are a much better team when they score first. They are 31-5-2 when scoring first.

4. Martin St. Louis Finds His Game

Martin St. Louis New York Rangers
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

4. Martin St. Louis Finds His Game

Martin St. Louis New York Rangers
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It hasn't been easy for Martin St. Louis in his time as a Ranger. He has struggled only scoring one goal and six assists. With that being said, three of those assists came in his last game. St. Louis has to be a contributor if the Rangers want to win any playoff series. If he finds his game, they will be a hard team to beat.

3. Play Physical

New York Rangers physical play
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

3. Play Physical

New York Rangers physical play
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers aren't a very big or physical team. They will be playing two teams, Blue Jackets or Flyers, that love to play physical. Alain Vigneault said earlier this year that you don't have to be physical to play physical. The Rangers have to throw their weight around if they want to win. A lot of NHL playoff games are won with grit rather than skill.

2. Rick Nash Shows Up

Rick Nash New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

2. Rick Nash Shows Up

Rick Nash New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In his 16 career playoff games, Rick Nash has been a non-factor. He only has two goals and eight points in those 16 games. Nash is the Rangers' most important offensive player. If Nash shows up, the Rangers will have a phenomenal chance of winning against the Flyers or Blue Jackets.

1. Ryan McDonagh Is Healthy

Ryan McDonagh New York Rangers
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ryan McDonagh Is Healthy

Ryan McDonagh New York Rangers
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

If Ryan McDonagh comes back and is the player he was before his injury, the Rangers defense will be able to shut down almost any offense in the NHL. If McDonagh is not healthy, the Rangers might as well not get off the bus to play. He is the team's best player and this team will need him to win any series.

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