Post-Game 4: Rangers coach on Hockey Gods

1402590771987Comments from Rangers coach Alain Vigneault after his team’s 2-1 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final…

Q. How would you describe your team’s performance tonight and how proud are you of the way they played?

VIGNEAULT: Well, it was a real tough game I think for L.A. It was probably their best game of the playoffs that they’ve played against us. I thought we were real good until they scored their first goal, their only goal, when Dan broke his stick. I thought after that we weren’t maybe as efficient as we had been until that time. But our guys competed. I mean, they’re a real good team. They threw everything they had at us. Our goaltender stood tall, gave us a chance. We have another chance. We get to play.

Q. Henrik, you couldn’t say he was necessarily bad these last few games, but did you feel like he took it upon himself to really seize control of this one when he needed to?

VIGNEAULT: He had to make some huge saves in the second and the third. He got and we got a few bounces. You need those. Maybe the luck is changing a little bit. We got to keep competing hard, keep working. We get another chance to play. We’re going to be ready for it.

Q. You jumped out to a two-goal lead earlier in this series. What did you do differently in this game to preserve that lead?

VIGNEAULT: Goaltender was real good (smiling).

Q. Were you aware the puck was sitting on the goal line as long as it was? What did you think when you saw that replay?

VIGNEAULT: I knew it wasn’t in because the light wasn’t going on. I didn’t know exactly where it was. I was able to see the replay after. Thank God for soft ice now and then.

Q. You shuffled up your lines a little bit. What was your thought process? Were you happy with the line combinations tonight?

VIGNEAULT: Just thought that Dom had been playing some good hockey. I just felt for tonight it was time to maybe give our team a different look on certain occasions. I thought for the most part we were all right, but I know that we can be better. I expect us to be better next game.

Q. How do you feel Richards reacted to that? Did he fit right into what you needed?

VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I mean, this morning I met all the lines individually, talked about certain assignments that I wanted. I talked to Brad’s line. I talked to Brad about the decision I made. I mean, at this time of the year it’s only about one thing: it’s about the team. You guys now how Richards has been this year, the ultimate pro. He’s fine with whatever I do.

Q. You spoke about the luck changing maybe. That being said, how difficult is it when Girardi’s stick breaks?

VIGNEAULT: I mean, that’s where I thought we were playing a real solid game until then. That put us on our heels a little bit. I think this group will learn from that. I definitely know we’re going to be better next game.

Q. With the benefit of replay, you said you were able to see the puck sitting there on crease. In real-time, going a hundred miles an hour, how about the presence of mind of Stepan not to cover it up but swipe it? Is that something you’ve talked on?

VIGNEAULT: That’s player instincts, player knowing the rules. Stepan’s a real smart player.

Q. In the third period when the ice is almost tilted, you don’t get a shot until two-thirds of the way through the period, what are you thinking on the bench when the game is all one-sided?

VIGNEAULT: You’re trying to tell your players not to play on their heels, keep managing the puck, let’s make plays. But, you know, at some point you got to give credit to the opposition. Like I said, I mean, that’s the best that they’ve played in this series. They came at us real hard. Fortunately we were able to stand tall, bend not break. When we did bend a little bit more, our goaltender made some big saves.

Q. Do you know right away when Henrik is on his game that it’s going to be this type of performance from him?

VIGNEAULT: Anytime I put Henrik in goal, I know I got a chance to win. You know, he’s a great goaltender. He really proved that again tonight.

Q. Has Anton Stralman been somewhat of a hero?

VIGNEAULT: Anton plays top minutes. He’s been real steady managing the puck. He’s defended really well. He’s really an important player for us.

Q. You talk about luck. How superstitious are you?

VIGNEAULT: I’ve been in the game a long time to know thatsometimes the hockey gods are there. They were there tonight.

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