Considering the bickering and finger-pointing that’s taken place during the past week, you’d think that the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers were hyping up a prize fight (if not the main event for “Wrestlemania”). Yet with all the jawing going on, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged that it’s important to back up all of the talk.
“Tonight, without a doubt, for both teams it’s a huge game,” Vigneault said. “Both teams know the importance of it, and
I’m sure we’re going to have a great hockey game.”
It’s true that this isn’t an elimination game, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact on the series and the postseason as a whole. The Rangers could inch closer to getting more rest if they can close out the Habs quickly (certainly relevant after New York went through two seven-game series) while Montreal can regain home-ice advantage by tying this series 2-2.
As noted earlier, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien indicated that all the big talk clouds the obvious truth: each team has a lot on the line.
Interestingly, Therrien noted that he believes that he’ll probably laugh this stuff off with Vigneault … in the offseason.
“Right now we’re battling for the same thing. The same thing he wants to get to the Stanley Cup Final with his team, it’s the same thing for me,” Therrien said. “We’ve got to put our friendship aside for, what, two weeks? But I’m sure when everything’s going to be done and everything’s going to be over, and as soon as we get a chance to see each other, we’re going to have a nice cold beer, like we did in the past, and nothing’s going to change.”
Then again, a lot can change in a week or two (especially when a trip to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final is on the line.)