By John Rolfe
From out of the shadow of tragedy, the Rangers have gone on a stirring playoff run that has fueled the passion of their devoted fans, summoned memories of the team's epic journey to the Stanley Cup in 1994 and become one of the most compelling stories of the NHL's postseason.
In this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, Brian Cazeneuve examines how the Broadway Blueshirts, with new coach Alain Vigneault and a mix of veteran stars and homegrown talent, have shed decades of mediocrity. Trailing 3-1 in their second-round series against the Penguins, the Rangers rallied around Martin St. Louis after the death of his mother on May 8. The veteran winger went to her wake in Quebec, but returned the next day in time for Game 5, and his presence ignited a rally that carried New York to the conference finals for only the third time since the team won the Cup in 1994.
"We flipped a switch," winger Mats Zuccarello told SI. "I believe it was each guy saying, Marty is here. What excuse do I have? I know he inspired me."
(Cover photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP)