Young Rangers K'Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere discuss their first playoffs: 'It's something you dream of'

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K'Andre Miller and Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh
K'Andre Miller and Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh

Not that long ago, the Rangers sent a message to their fans they were simply going to be rebuilding - it's been so far, so good.

Now, two former first-round picks - who are just a combined 42 years old - are getting their first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“It’s been awesome," K'Andre Miller, the 28th overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, told reporters on Monday before Game 4 against the Penguins. "Obviously hasn’t gone exactly the way we wanted, but I think for the most part, we’re competing, and we’re finding our game as the series goes on...

“You essentially work your whole life for something like this. It’s everything you dream of. So I think it’s just a matter of embracing the moment and taking it day by day and staying sharp and doing all these little things to prepare yourself for the moment."

The lights are already brighter in New York, but playoff hockey at the Garden is a different animal.

But head coach Gerard Gallant doesn't think the 22nd pick of the 2018 NHL Draft is phased, and wants him playing the same way he did in the regular season.

“We want K’Andre playing the same way he played all year. You gotta play physical in the playoffs – you gotta be a little bit more aggressive," Gallant said. "But I don’t want him going over the top. I want him to play the way he played all year, and that’s been really good for us. He’s a big kid, and he plays well, and when it’s playoff hockey, you gotta step it up a little bit.”

Alexis Lafreniere, the No. 1 overall pick two years ago, is also getting his first shake at hockey in May. And despite the Blueshirts being down two games to one, he's been loving it.

“Just the crowd was pretty special in Game 1 and Game 2. It was nice to see the crowd like that and have the energy in the building. You dream your whole life, so when you’re actually there, it’s even more special, it’s fun."

The Rangers will look to tie up the series at 7 p.m. on Monday before heading back home for Game 5.