Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: ‘I got bumped the whole game,’ says Crawford

    May 22, 2015, 1:30 AM EDT

    Getty Images

    Ducks trying to make life miserable for Chicago’s goalie.

  2. Bylsma free to pursue any coaching gig, says Rutherford

    May 21, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

    Bylsma

    Pittsburgh GM won’t stand in the way.

  3. Sabres GM Murray lauds ‘great’ process with Babcock, confirms no deal ever in place

    May 21, 2015, 6:10 PM EDT

    Tim Murray AP

    “To have a guy of his ilk, considered one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League, taking a real good hard look at us in Buffalo after a 30th-place finish — I thought the process was great.”

  4. B’s sign Finnish forward Kemppainen to one-year, $700K deal

    May 21, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT

    Joonas Kemppainen, Jan Laco Getty Images

    Two-way contract for Karpat’s playoff scoring sensation.

  5. Will Hitch be back? Blues still ‘going through the process’

    May 21, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock AP

    “It’s something that we’re working on everyday. We’re trying to do it behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.”

  6. Milbury’s ‘tongue-in-cheek’ remarks about Perry discussed, says NBC exec (Video)

    May 21, 2015, 4:02 PM EDT

    Mike Milbury

    “Word choice matters, even when attempting to be humorous.”

  7. Report: Sabres get permission to interview Bylsma

    May 21, 2015, 2:44 PM EDT

    Dan Bylsma AP

    As many as six new head coaches could still be named.

  8. Versteeg ‘wants to play in the worst way’

    May 21, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT

    Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six

    Some have wondered if he could replace goal-less Bryan Bickell.

  9. Babcock predicts ‘pain’ for Leafs, who are a ‘massive, massive challenge’

    May 21, 2015, 12:43 PM EDT

    Mike Babcock Mike Babcock

    “We need to create a safe environment for the players.”

Featured video

Babcock has his work cut out in Toronto
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Boyle (1377)
  2. K. Versteeg (1359)
  3. R. Callahan (1340)
  4. P. Kane (1265)
  5. H. Lundqvist (1263)