A day after watching his team blow a two-goal third-period lead, lose in double overtime and go down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault sounded remarkably calm.
Vigneault said that ever since the first period of Game 1 in Ottawa — when the Senators had chances when both teams were on the power play — the Rangers’ past six periods have been pretty good. “We’ve gotten some good looks, we’ve been able to limit a pretty skilled team, and we’ve been able to generate quite a few chances,” Vigneault said Sunday on a conference call with reporters.
Game 3 in New York isn’t until Tuesday night, so Vigneault gave his players a day off Sunday. Some of them might be eager to get back on the ice after Saturday’s 6-5 double OT defeat to the Ottawa Senators, but Vigneault actually thinks the extra day of rest will help.
“There’s definitely some areas — I’m not going to get into this with you at this time — but there are some areas that I feel that we can be a little bit better at,” Vigneault said. “It’s going to permit us to work on a couple things, it’s going to permit us to show maybe a little bit more video, and it’s going to give our players an extra day [off].
“It’s no doubt that was a tough loss [Saturday] considering the way we played, but having this extra 24 hours to consume it and be able to adjust, take the time to adjust in a couple areas, I think it’s going to be beneficial to our group.”
Speaking of rest, Vigneault gave some of his younger players extra rest late in the game Saturday, something he was asked about repeatedly on the conference call.
“[Saturday] night, I did shorten the bench up front, and it probably had to do with two things,” he said. “A) the urgency of that game, and B) maybe some of the young players that you were talking about didn’t seem to have it for me.”
But it doesn’t sound like any big shakeup is coming, at least on the defensive side of things.
“Our D pairs, the six that we’re playing now, one of the reasons why we’ve got them together is we feel that they’ve got pretty good chemistry,” Vigneault said. “They’re not all going to be perfect, and like [Saturday] night on a couple of the goals, each pair sort of had their moment as far as giving the other team an opportunity. … Right now, I like the looks of our pairs, and I don’t see myself making any changes there.”
The Rangers have already faced adversity in the postseason, going down 2-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round before rallying to win three straight games and advance. But being down 2-0 is a different challenge.
Vigneault said he and his staff spent Sunday morning analyzing Game 2, and the work would continue through the day.
“We’re going to sit down here in a couple hours, and go through our different options, and I would tell you that everything’s on the table right now,” Vigneault said. “Whatever we feel is best for the group is what we’re going to do.”