Now those are the New York Rangers we know.
Just about shut out in the opening game of their series, then falling short in an unusually explosive Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers finally got themselves a victory on Tuesday night, claiming a 4-1 rout of Guy Boucher's team after a day of extra rest.
The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, maintained their role as gems of the West, getting enough third-period production -- and roaring support from a Tennessee crowd ready for the conference finals -- to beat the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, and take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
As the Rangers claw their way back into contention and the Predators make it harder for St. Louis to do the same, here's a look at a crucial Tuesday night in the Stanley Cup playoffs:
The Rangers made sure no one has forgotten about their talent
The New York victory, which drops Ottawa's series lead to 2-1 in advance of a, keeps the Rangers from falling into a near-fatal hole.
But it also confirms two things: that Henrik Lundqvist cannot yet be completely chalked up as a lost cause in the net (although, seriously, who would go that far?), and that the Rangers' electrifying offensive performance in Game 2 was not a fluke.
Lundqvist, of course, had his fair share of (justified) critics after surrendering six goals in an overtime loss to Ottawa the last time the two teams met. Six goals, after all, is a whopping number, and doubly so when you're talking about the defensively geared Senators going off for that many.
But "Hank," who was actually a key component to New York's defeat of the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs' opening round, stood up and stood tall Tuesday, stopping 26 of the Sens' 27 shots on goal and thwarting the team's power-play attempts. In simpler terms, Lundqvist ensured Ottawa would have to absolutely dominate on defense if it wanted to win again.
The Rangers offense, meanwhile, has been a talking point since long before the playoffs. But it made Tuesday's four-goal outing look easy with turnarounds that led to scores like this:
The Predators are playing -- and Nashville is partying -- like it's time for the West finals
Give credit to St. Louis for matching Nashville's efforts through just about the entire goalie-dominated Game 4, in which the two sides combined for 57 shots on goal but only three pucks got past the mitts of Pekka Rinne and Jake Allen.
But the Predators are the talk of their conference, and not merely because they made the Chicago Blackhawks look silly in the first round. After two scoreless periods Tuesday, Ryan Ellis and the Preds' lightning-fast attack simply made enough plays to pull away from the Blues, who didn't find the net until there was 3:49 left.
Nashville is now 7-1 in the postseason. And it is having a blast as it racks up the wins.
So if you haven't already acknowledged Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Nashville's surging play makers -- not to mention the hype flowing from a packed Bridgestone Arena -- as the biggest story of the playoff picture, now is the time to do so.