Vigneault on fatigue: “Did my goaltender look tired? He was on top of his game. He wasn’t tired. I don’t think anyone else should be tired.”
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) May 5, 2014
Fatigue wasn’t the issue last night. The Blueshirts have played a lot of hockey over the past week, but they’ve also had the standard off-day before each game in Pittsburgh. They just decided, as they did a couple of times against Philly, that it was the perfect opportunity to remind everyone why fans outside of NY don’t consider the Rangers a threat. Instead of stepping on the Penguins’ throats by taking advantage of three power plays in the first half of the opening period, they skated a sloppy, lifeless 60 minutes. Every Ranger found their ass on the ice at some point after losing a 50/50 puck battle. Just an infuriating game to watch. Lundqvist stood on his head keeping his squad in a contest they had no business being in while his teammates might as well have played in flip flops with their sticks upside down. No killer instinct.
Still, home ice advantage belongs to the Rangers. It was only one game and perhaps playing back-to-back will be a good thing. Keep this loss fresh. If fatigue was gonna be an issue it’d be tonight – but considering they played as if yesterday was an open skate, it won’t be. Being back under their own roof should provide the Blueshirts with whatever “boost” they need to bounce back with a sense of urgency. And although recent history has continually proven me wrong, they just HAVE to score another PPG at some point in their franchise’s existence, right? Their “#1 line” of Nash/Step/MSL have to generate at least one more goal in their careers…right? Right. Power of positive thinking. Big picture, the Blueshirts are still in good shape – but the last thing they need to give the Pens is momentum. Just hold serve at MSG. Piece of cake.