This season has been one of the most exciting of my career. Although this is my second playoff appearance as a Ranger, there is still something very special about doing it in the Big Apple.
Unlike last season, where everything came down to the wire and our destiny was not in our hands, being the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference and earning home ice advantage makes this an unforgettable experience.
We know the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden is going to be electric and the city itself is going to come alive with "Blue Shirt Pride."
I live just a few blocks south of the Garden and commute to the arena like everyone else some games. I love the familiarity of this city, especially at this point in the season. Walking around my neighborhood and hearing from the fans about how they are right there with us humbles me and gives me and my teammates that extra support to be successful.
Right now the team is feeling great and has had a few days rest before the first playoff game at the Garden tonight. We start it all up with this morning's skate at MSG. It's great to start the day on the Garden ice, something we did only a handful of times during the season, but plan to do before every home game during the playoffs.
I don't plan to change much as far as my game preparation in the playoffs, but there is one tradition that a bunch of the guys and I make sure to take part in every postseason: that's growing a beard for the Beard-A-Thon (www.beardathon.com/rangers). It's great because not only is it a hockey tradition, it also gives the guys a chance to help raise awareness and funds for the Garden of Dreams Foundation.
I'm excited to head into tonight's matchup, led by veteran guys like Cally (Ryan Callahan), Richie (Brad Richards) and Hank (Henrik Lundqvist) and a perfect mix of hungry young players who are more than ready to make this run a long one. Following the lead of Torts (head coach John Tortorella) we will take this one game at a time and hopefully put on a memorable show for New York City!
Brandon Prust, 28, plays forward for the Rangers. Madison Square Garden, which controls the Rangers, is run by the same ownership as amNewYork's parent company, Cablevision.