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.
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.”
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.