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. Defensemen Hunwick, Bartkowski to become UFAs

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Seven Getty Images

    Rangers and Bruins let their respective rearguards walk, thereby deepening the free agent pool.

  2. Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:04 PM EDT

    Dougie Hamilton AP

    Cap hit around $5.75 million.

  3. No buyout: Flyers will keep Gagner

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:31 PM EDT

    Arizona Coyotes v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Former first-round pick is relieved after a “stressful” last few days.

  4. Habs re-sign deadline pickup Flynn: two years, $1.9 million

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:14 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

    Former Buffalo forward had three points in six playoff games for Montreal.

  5. Florida waives Boyes for buyout purposes

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    33-year-old had 14 goals and 38 points last year.

  6. Hurricanes to buy out Semin

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    Six goals in 57 games last season.

  7. What character concerns? Treliving has ‘slept like a baby’ since Hamilton trade

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:57 AM EDT

    Dougie Hamilton Getty Images

    “This doesn’t keep me awake at night. Since the day we got Dougie Hamilton, I’ve had the best sleeps of the past few years. “

  8. ‘Hawks sign No. 3 goalie Leighton to one-year extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

    Michael Leighton, Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    With Antti Raanta gone, he’s now set as the backup’s backup.

  9. Report: Isles, Hickey closing in three-year pact around $6.5M

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:24 AM EDT

    thomashickeygetty Getty Images

    26-year-old defenseman has missed just one game over the last two years.

  10. Lightning, Sustr agree on two-year extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:23 AM EDT

    Andrej Sustr Getty Images

    It’s reportedly worth $2.9 million.

  11. Lehtonen, Niemi see benefit in splitting goalie duties

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    Kari Lehtonen Getty Images

    They both finished in the top 10 in minutes in 2014-15.

  12. Caps’ Wey retires at 24 due to concussions

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:57 AM EDT

    Patrick Wey Getty Images

    He made his NHL debut during the 2013-14 campaign before his career was derailed.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Hamilton (2179)
  2. C. Talbot (2035)
  3. R. O'Reilly (1987)
  4. S. Gagner (1813)
  5. M. Richards (1755)
  1. R. Lehner (1657)
  2. E. Etem (1628)
  3. M. Lucic (1557)
  4. A. Niemi (1494)
  5. K. Letang (1420)