The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are set for Game 1 of their first-round matchup Thursday at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The teams split their regular season series 2-2, with the home team winning all four games. With the Rangers possessing home ice advantage, and their recent dominance at the Garden, it's going to be one of the keys to this series.
Here is a look at five players that could make a difference for both teams.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist is one of the NHL's top goaltenders every season. That being said, he hasn't been this season.
Lundqvist finished 15th in the NHL with a 2.36 GAA. His .920 save percentage is also 15th. But that doesn't change the fact he elevates his game in the playoffs every season, boasting a 2.28 GAA and .920 save percentage in 67 career playoff games.
Lundqvist has also dominated the Flyers in his career, boasting a 26-12-0-3 record. He is 12-3 in his last 15 games (since March 6, 2011), and has won eight straight at the Garden.
Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis
The Rangers gave up a lot in a trade to get St. Louis in the red, white and blue for this season and next. St. Louis is an elite offensive player even at the age of 38. But right now, he hasn't been living up to the price.
In 19 games since being acquired at the deadline, St. Louis has just one goal and seven assists, low numbers for a player who is a season removed from winning the Art Ross Trophy.
The Rangers need him to elevate his scoring for the team to score better than its 2.61 goals per game suggests.
Flyers center Sean Couturier
If anyone on the Flyers is going to be relied upon to lead the forecheck and attack Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in his zone, it's going to be Couturier.
Couturier is the Flyers' top forechecker and defensive forward. He has shown the ability to keep the puck in the opposing team's zone, and has been responsible for neutralizing some of the NHL's top forwards in the past three seasons.
Couturier can also find the back of the net with his hard snap shot and relentless drive to the crease.
Rangers right wing Rick Nash
Nash was another big acquisition for the Rangers, coming to the team prior to last season. Though he battled some health issues, missing 17 games, he is arguably New York's most dangerous offensive weapon.
Nash is a big, strong power forward at 6-foot-4. He has played well with Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin on the top line. If he can have his way with the puck in the Flyers' zone, he is going to be a nightmare for the Flyers' blue line.
Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn
Coburn is the Flyers' top defenseman, and the only one who can match up with Nash's size and speed. Coburn is very fast on his skates and has a very active stick in the defensive zone.
Coburn is their most aggressive blue liner, possessing the ability to knock the puck carrier off the puck before entering the zone. And if the opposing player gets in, Coburn is good at driving that player to the perimeter.
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