Nearly 21 years have passed since that unforgettable day when the Rangers' captain flashed that winning grin and held up that shiny prize on the sheet of ice inside Madison Square Garden.

Now Mark Messier can finally envision a Stanley Cup sequel happening for the Rangers.

"I would like their chances," Messier said Tuesday at a BTIG event in Manhattan where sports figures and other celebrities got on the phone for financial trades, with the commissions going to charity. "Why wouldn't you like their chances after the year that they've had?"

The year that they've had includes the first Presidents' Trophy for the Rangers since Messier's 1994 title team.

"The Rangers look great," Messier said. "They've looked great all year. They're a very confident team."

They followed up their regular season by beating Pittsburgh in five in the opening round, earning a matchup with Washington that begins Thursday. The Rangers have been building toward a season like this, especially after reaching the Stanley Cup Final last year, losing to Los Angeles.

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"They've kept their core team together," Messier said. "They've had some real disappointing defeats, some real setbacks. But they've kept it together.

"And those are steps that normally teams take when they're on a journey like the Rangers have been for the last few years. They're a team that's going to be the most experienced in the playoffs. They've got all the components that you need to win a Stanley Cup. Now they've just got to go do it."

One of those components, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, found his form quickly after missing nearly two months with a vascular injury in his neck. As Messier put it: "They've got the right guy in the net for them to finish off the journey they started way back when."