NEW YORK, NY – The Stanley Cup final has shifted to Manhattan and with that, the New York Rangers have a chance to make this a series: After all, you don’t need to worry until the home team loses, right?
Certainly the Rangers have been close with the Kings, dropping both games in Los Angeles in extra time. But there are no moral victories from here on out and New York coach Alain Vigneault was confident about his veteran tandem of Brad Richards and Martin St-Louis. The second-liners, both of whom won a Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, were victimized on several occasions by the Kings in Game 2.
“Brad, with his experience, knows his whole line needs to be better,” Vigneault said. “They’re veteran guys, they’ve been around. They’ll have a good bounceback tonight.”
Playing with speedster Carl Hagelin, the two old Bolts have been solid contributors to the Rangers’ push through the playoffs. That was particularly significant for St-Louis, who came over from Tampa at the trade deadline under a cloud as many felt he sulked his way off the Lightning due to an initial Olympic snub from Tampa/Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman. Again, Vigneault took the long view and was rewarded by St-Louis in the post-season.
“He was playing, in my estimation, the right way,” Vigneault said. “When we got into the playoffs, he was still playing the right way, but he was also getting on the scoresheet.”
Under the magnificent lights of Madison Square Garden, Richards and St-Louis can make a big dent in the Kings’ run to a second Cup in three years. There has to be some discouraging thoughts in the New York dressing room right now, seeing as the team easily could have come home from Los Angeles with a 2-0 lead instead of a 2-0 deficit.
“Chance-wise, we’re right there with them,” Vigneault said. “We got a little unfortunate in that third period (of Game 2), but we’re right there.”
On a final note, Vigneault was asked about Dwight King’s controversial goal for L.A. in Game 2, one which certainly could have been called back due to goaltender interference. Did he get an answer from the NHL?
“I did,” he said. “That will stay between me and the league.”