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NHL contenders hope late-signing prospects are playoff ready

The ink was barely dry on his contract when Ryan Donato played his first professional game.

Three days after his junior season at Harvard ended, Donato joined the Boston Bruins' lineup in the middle of a playoff chase in a top-six role with a spot on the power play.

No pressure, kid.

''I definitely had to learn quickly,'' Donato said. ''Every game is important, so it had to click right away. I really didn't have a choice.''