After a rough stretch in which his team played two back-to-backs and one Game 7, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault finally let his frustrations loose.
“We were forced to play a stupid schedule, 5 games in 7 nights, & I’m real proud of how our guys handled it”-Alain Vigneault #NYRPlayoffs
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 6, 2014
This message was in stark contrast to Vigneault’s message prior to Game 3. He insisted his team wasn’t tired and that the schedule wasn’t wearing his side down — even though, on Monday night, the Rangers became the first team in 25 years to play five playoff games in a seven-day span.
“Did my goaltender look tired?” Vigneault asked following Sunday’s 3-0 loss in Game 2. “He’s played every minute in the playoffs. If he isn’t, no one should be.”
Tonight’s loss to Pittsburgh was hardly the byproduct of fatigue (or so it seemed.) The Rangers had enough jump and legs to out-shoot the Penguins 35-15 and played very well in stretches, but the fact still remains — the Rangers haven’t scored on Marc-Andre Fleury in 120 minutes of action and the club clearly lacks the finish and focus needed to put pucks in the back of the net.
Is that a fatigue issue? The Rangers won’t say so publicly, but it’s telling how they’re now acknowledging the schedule has been a factor.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey,” Martin St. Louis said, per the Star-Ledger. “We’re going to come up for air and regroup.”