Accidental pairing pays big dividends

Updated: May 16, 2012, 3:25 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Fate or just dumb luck?

If the New York Rangers end up celebrating their first Stanley Cup championship since 1994 next month, they will look back on the moment that defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi began playing together this past fall and wonder whether that was indeed the defining moment.

Whether they came together via happenstance or not, you could hardly find two more inexorably linked yet unique pieces of the New York Rangers' Stanley Cup puzzle.

Taken ...

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