Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot


New York Rangers’ captain and defenseman Ryan McDonagh was playing with a broken foot “for a couple of games,” said head coach Alain Vigneault, as per the Rangers’ Twitter account.

There was a mysterious beginning to the game for the Rangers and McDonagh, who left the bench and went to the locker room before he had even played a shift on Friday. He eventually returned to the bench and began taking more regular shifts in the second period.

“The freezing hadn’t kicked in, so we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to play,” Vigneault told reporters.

“So, at that time we made the decision to go with seven (defensemen). He went back in right at the start of the first period, and it kicked in a little bit. But he played through a lot of pain.”

While their captain returned to action, the Rangers couldn’t conjure much of an offensive push in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Mystery surrounds Rangers’ captain McDonagh after first period (Updated)


New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh didn’t take his first shift of Game 7 until almost 13 minutes had already ticked off the clock.

It will be interesting to hear an explanation following the game as to why this was the case.

McDonagh was seen on the Rangers bench during the national anthem, but he went to the dressing room with head athletic trainer Jim Ramsay, according to Dan Rosen of He later emerged from the locker room before playing a 53-second shift that started at the 12:41 mark of the opening period.

He played only three shifts in the first 20 minutes, so that’s a development to keep an eye on for the remainder of the game.

The Rangers decided to go with seven defensemen, putting Matt Hunwick into the lineup, despite having not played since April 24.

In Game 6 of the series, McDonagh was on the receiving end of a heavy Steven Stamkos hit into the boards.

Updated: McDonagh played 12 shifts in the second period, for a total of 8:23 of ice time.

On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’


After last night’s win over the Lightning, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was asked for his thoughts on what could’ve been a game-changing play — Chris Kreider’s cross-checking penalty on Steve Stamkos, delivered in retaliation for a hit Stamkos laid on Ryan McDonagh moments earlier:

Bolts forward Ryan Callahan scored 20 seconds into the ensuing power play, cutting New York’s lead in half while energizing the Tampa Bay crowd. The play warranted some harsh media critique as Krieder was accused of being “dopey” and having “drove home his point too emphatically.”

To be fair, there were some — including a few Blueshirts — who felt the referees missed a boarding penalty on the initial Stamkos hit. Vigneault touched on that, along with Kreider’s actions, in today’s presser:

Q. Are you okay with Kreider’s response to the non-call?

Vigneault: Yeah. I mean, I think 98% of the people watching that hit, the numbers are there, five or six strides, face into the boards. You’ve got to play through that at this time.

I mean, as much as — at some point you’re happy that a player protects their teammate, and at this time not knowing what the guys calling are going to call, I mean, I’m more tempted to say turn the other cheek and let’s play.

Tuesday wasn’t the first time Kreider’s penchant for retaliation has hurt the Blueshirts. In A 6-5 OT loss in Game 3, he did this:

Moving ahead, the challenge for both Kreider and Vigneault will be finding — then toeing — the line between aggressiveness and recklessness. Much of what makes Kreider effective is his physicality; at 6-foot-3, 226 pounds and one of the most powerful skaters left in the postseason, the 24-year-old can have a massive impact on the game just by throwing himself around.

But as Game 6 showed, Kreider might be developing a reputation among officials. Between his history of retribution and crashing opposing netminders, there always seems to be an extra set of eyes on Kreider — and a quick whistle at the ready.

All eyes on Lundqvist


According to Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist “would be the first to say that six goals against is very uncharacteristic.”

So how uncharacteristic would it be if that happened two games in a row?

That’s why all eyes will be on Lundqvist tonight in Tampa Bay, as the Rangers try to even the Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece.

Vigneault was even asked if Lundqvist would, indeed, be his starter.

The coach laughed.

Of course The King would be the starter.

“Hank is very accountable and very demanding on himself,” said Vigneault. “He is going to do what any good goaltender does. He is going to put [Wednesday’s] game behind him.”

The thing about being one of the best goalies in the world is that you end up playing in a lot of big games, with everyone watching. Lundqvist leads all active goalies with 107 playoff appearances, most of which he’s played very well in.

But you play enough big games, you’re going to have some stinkers. Marc-Andre Fleury has appeared in the second-most playoff games among active netminders, followed by Jonathan Quick, Corey Crawford and Roberto Luongo.

All five have been at least as far as the Stanley Cup Final, if not won it. But each has also had a few nightmares under the spotlight.

“Sometimes stuff happens,” Vigneault said after Game 3, when asked about the long-range shot that beat his franchise goalie in overtime.

Lundqvist still has a .926 save percentage in these playoffs. He could still end up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.

But the Rangers know the size of tonight’s game.

“It’s absolutely a huge game, you know,” said captain Ryan McDonagh. “Being tied 2-2, going back to MSG or being down 3-1 is quite a hole.”

So they’ll need The King to play like one.

Ten goals aren’t enough: Boyle sends Game 3 to OT

1 Comment

Remember when eight goals seemed like a lot in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Game 2 win against the New York Rangers? The two teams have already combined for 10 tallies tonight, and Game 3 will require one more to determine a winner.

Ryan McDonagh tied the game up early in the third period, while Ondrej Palat scored his second goal of the contest to give the Lightning a 5-4 lead with a little less than six minutes remaining. Having 5:55 seemed like ample time in a game like this … and it turns out that it was.

Dan Boyle’s aggressiveness paid off, as he crashed the net for the 5-5 goal against the team he once won a Stanley Cup with:

Both goalies are struggling … but you never know when the next marathon OT epic might come. Either way, after all of this, next goal wins.