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Vigneault: Rangers won’t win with their ‘B’ game

Jun 5, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

Alain Vigneault Getty Images

The New York Rangers played a tough and tight Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings. A 3-2 overtime loss puts them in a hole to start the series, however, and improvements have to be made.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has started breaking down his team’s performance in Game 1 and right away he knows he’s dealing with an entirely different type of team in the Kings — one he knows they can’t afford to be off their game against.

“One thing that’s real evident to me, and it should be to our whole group, is we’re not going to beat this team if we do not all bring our ‘A’ game,” Vigneault said. “It is that strong of an opponent that we’re playing against.

“We had (Henrik Lundqvist) that brought his ‘A’ game last night. We had a couple guys. I don’t want to name who I think brought their ‘A’ game. But our ‘B’ game won’t do it. We’re not going to win if we bring our ‘B’ game to the table.”

Lundqvist stopped 40 shots in the Game 1 loss and was beat in overtime by a Justin Williams snapshot following a turnover by defenseman Dan Girardi. Mistakes like that can’t be made against any team, never mind the Kings.

“They’re one of the best teams I’ve seen in a long time,” Vigneault said. “Areas to exploit, they don’t jump out at you. We’re going to have to be better than we were.”

If the Rangers can clean things up and generate more shots late in the game (L.A. outshot New York 20-3 in the third period) that will go a long way towards possibly sending the series to New York tied up.

  1. joey4id - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Keep in mind that the Kings did win without their A game. Actually it was probably their B- game during the first 2 periods. Lundqvist will have to play with his A+ game for 60+ minutes. In other words, play like he played during the 3 period.

    joey4id – Jun 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM
    Lundqvist was far from consistent in the playoffs. He has a proven tendency to give up soft goals and lose games every once in a while, but he does bounce back. He needs to play every game with the same focus and determination as he did in game 6 vs Montreal. Can he do it?

    The Rangers have not faced a team in these playoffs that is as deep, resilient, and formidable as the Kings are. First game goes to the Kings.

    • areaman714 - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Somebody loves himself.

      • joey4id - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        I do. ;-) You ok with that?

      • joey4id - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        Looking at your pic, I would saw I don’t love myself nearly as much as you love yourself. Typical 714 area man. Ha!

    • billiam55 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      arnt u a habs fan? loser.

      • joey4id - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:20 AM

        I’m not a Habs fan. a$$hole.,

  2. areaman714 - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    I do agree. KIng Henrik has been the best player in the playoffs. If the Rangers can play reasonably better D, this will go 7 games. Quick made some great saves one many of the breakaways the Rangers had.

  3. xdj511 - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    I have seen the Rangers battle back enough times this postseason. I have no doubt that they will give a better effort in game 2. It’s hard to call it amuse win but it will be really tough to win the series if they fall behind 2-0.

  4. imleftcoast - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    How could the Rangers play tired in the third? That was a winnable game on the road. Vignaeult should have taken a page out of the Sutter’s book and started mixing the lines after a few shifts.

    • buckhome - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Interesting take by Ron Duguay on NY local postgame. Said that the apparent wall the Rangers hit in the 3rd could have been BECAUSE of the long layoff. Something about practices not keeping you as sharp as the games. So his take was they had energy at the beginning because of the long rest but mental and physical sharpness or lack of it shows as the game wears on.

      Game 2 will be big as to whether that theory holds any water.

  5. papajack1259 - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    I never realized how deep in the net Henrik plays and how quickly Quick comes out. two very contrasting styles. I do not see anyone matching Doughty puck handling or ability to get his pass/shot off. He is fun to watch. All that said with a little luck the Rangers could of snuck one bye Quick at the end of the third …it’s a funny game.

  6. canadatude - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Bad news. That was your ‘A’ game.

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