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Rangers coach says his team is fresh despite two seven-game series

May 16, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist AP

The New York Rangers have overcome some serious hurdles through two rounds of playoff hockey. The fact that they’ve played a maximum of 14 postseason games in that span – including four games in which a loss would end their season – makes one wonder if they have enough left in the tank to beat the Montreal Canadiens.

Sure, the Habs went the distance against the Boston Bruins in the second round, yet they also swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in their first series of this postseason.

Some might believe that fatigue could be a big factor in the Eastern Conference finals, yet Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault seemed quite optimistic about his team’s energy level.

“… We were fortunate, I would say, that we finished our series against the Penguins on Tuesday,” Vigneault said. “It gave us almost two full days off, and we had a good practice today and just flew into Montreal. We’re as healthy as a team can be at this time of the year. We’re fresh, and we’re looking forward to the afternoon game in Montreal.”

While the Canadiens have only played 93 games (82 regular plus 11 postseason) versus 96 for the Rangers (82 plus 14), Montreal did finish its series on Wednesday. So, short-term, you could argue that the Rangers might be the fresher of the two.

That might just be nitpicking in the big picture, though.

By the end of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, getting the typical night off between games must have felt almost like a luxury for the Rangers. They memorably played two sets of back-to-back games and six postseason contests in nine nights between the end of the Philadelphia Flyers series and beginning of the Penguins series.

Vigneault is saying all the right things about respecting his opponents (not to mention Rick Nash) and looking forward to the atmosphere in Montreal. If his quotes are any indication, they won’t head into that hostile environment running on fumes, either.

  1. bleedrangerblue - May 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Geez. No story here. The Rangers are fresh. Look at their previous schedule. They should worry about a Habs letdown, after their bitter rival series. Rangers were at ECF 2 yrs ago and lost. We are hungry. Get your cup Hank!! LGR!!

  2. arrow43050 - May 16, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    The Rangers go into the series with one day rest more than the Canadiens and the Canadiens come off a series against the Bruins, where Milan Lucic’s stick never met an opponent’s crotch that it didn’t love. The Rangers hopefully got one complete day of rest, one day of working on the Power Play and one day of watching film and going over assignments. That should be enough to keep them going well into the series against Montreal. I’m guess with the extended Western Conference series that there will be at least one 2-day break in this series.

  3. jason9696 - May 16, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    The Rangers looked like toast after game 4 against the Penguins. I still can’t believe they came back and won the series. I think the only chance they have against the Canadiens is if Lundqvist outplays Price by a mile. I don’t see that happening.

  4. 7mantel - May 17, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    The NYR’s look like the real deal !

  5. DED - May 17, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    They’ve had three days off. They’re rested. I don’t see fatigue being a factor for either team.

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