Richards and St. Louis turning back the clock with the Blueshirts

4/23/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Apr 17, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) celebrates scoring the game winning goal with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) and New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to take a 1-0 series lead. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY SportsAt the ages of 33 and 38, respectively, both Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis have put on a lot of miles in the NHL.

Both became stars while with the Tampa Bay Lightning and showed that they belonged in the league. That point was further proven in 2004 when both players had a big year for the Lightning.

That year, Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's most valuable player in the postseason when he scored 26 points (12 goals and 14 assists) and had seven game winning goals.

St. Louis had an even bigger 2004 than Richards. That season, St. Louis won both the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in the regular and the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer in the regular season.

Fast forward 10 years later and both players are making a positive impact with the New York Rangers in their first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. These players may be getting up their in age, but the two veterans are certainly not showing it thus far this postseason.

For Richards, this year was a turnaround season. After struggling under head coach John Tortorella both in the regular season and playoffs last year, Richards has flourished under new head coach Alain Vigneault this season.

In the regular season, Richards was one of the team's best players this year. He finished third on the team in points (20 goals and 31 assists) and showed that he could be an impact player offensively for the Rangers both now and may be even going forward.

Now in the postseason, Richards is once again proving his worth. Richards has four points (one goal and three assists) and has shown a lot of poise with the puck.

While being a big point-producer with the Lightning for much of the year with Lightning, things have not always been easy for St. Louis since joining the Blueshirts. In fact, in 19 regular season game with the Rangers, St. Louis had just eight points (one goal and seven assists).

In those 19 games, it was easy to see that St. Louis as gripping the stick a bit too hard. He was struggling to put the puck in the net, was trying to do too much with the puck, and ultimately, was may be trying too hard to impress his new hockey club.

Things have since changed for St. Louis in this year's playoffs. Including what he has done in tonight's Game 3, St. Louis leads the Rangers with five points on two goals and three assists.

In the playoffs, St. Louis is playing with a lot more confidence with the puck and looks a lot more at home with his new team. For both the Rangers and St. Louis, you could say that this is perfect timing to be playing well and fitting in with your team.

These guys may have a lot of wear and tear on their tires, but right now, they are the Rangers' best players at the most important time of the year.
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