Kings forward Marian Gaborik looking forward to his New York City return

Marian Gaborik played for the Rangers for three-plus seasons and scored 114 goals in 255 games before he was traded during the 2012-13 season to Columbus. The Kings then acquired him this past March 5 from the Blue Jackets.

Gaborik makes his first visit Monday night to Madison Square Garden since the trade, and it was clear Sunday that he was looking forward to it. Above all, he couldn’t wait to hear the roar of the crowd and to get a close-up look at the extensive renovations of the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“I don’t think I’ve met or talked to any player who didn’t like playing in the Garden,” said Gaborik, who has a playoff-leading 13 goals in 23 games. “You have extra jump. Everybody has an energy. You want to go out there and play well.”

Gaborik then went on to sidestep specific questions about whether he might have been a better fit in the system employed by current Rangers coach Alain Vigneault rather than the one used by former coach John Tortorella.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Gaborik said. “I don’t think about the past.”

Clearly, however, he has thought of his return to the Garden to face the Rangers.

“I’m grateful to be in my first Final,” he said. “To play the Rangers makes it more special.”

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