Rangers Quotebook

In Blueshirt Plus (*) by Scott Charles

The quotes below were provided by the New York Rangers

Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers head coach

On the first period…
“I’d rather give credit to Tampa Bay. Right before the game they find out that they lose two of their key players, and they had a real strong push. It happens in hockey sometimes. A team will come out and push and push hard and they did. We were fortunate that Hank [Henrik Lundqvist] was on top of his game. In the first 20 minutes, we were shorthanded eight minutes, or close to eight minutes. The other team’s going to get some looks and they’re going to get some shots on the net, which they did. Hank kept us in. We were able to buckle down, put our work boots on. I thought the last forty [minutes] were pretty good.”

On coming back in the game…
“Well we were down by two and we were pushing. Played our top six obviously a lot. Last five guys I shuffled in and out. The last 15 minutes we basically played nine, 10 forwards or so. We were pushing. We wanted to win the game and that’s what we did.”

On the younger guys getting minutes…
“Well it means an opportunity for some of the younger guys to get some quality ice time, some important minutes. Brady [Skjei] tonight was jumping up in the play. You’ve got to pick your spots and I think the more he plays the more he’s going to understand when it’s time to go in. For Dylan [McIlrath] he hadn’t played in such a long time, and we had so little practices so far as a team. I thought he did a good job tonight coming into these circumstances.”

· Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach

On tonight’s game…
“No question you go into every game trying to win the game. I thought that we tried to win a hockey game. The guys gamed it out. I think we took it to them in every statistic possible, except the scoreboard, so that’s unfortunate, but our guys gamed it out.”

On tonight’s game…
“I can’t say momentum turned. There was a break and that was in the second period and we went into the third with a 2-1 lead. Both teams I think were 1-for-6 on the power play, so that was kind of a wash either way. I don’t know. Did he (Lundqvist) make some big saves today? There’s no question. He’s done that for his whole career and he kept them close enough to get back into it and that’s what good goalies do. We had ample opportunity to score tonight and they just weren’t going in.”

· Derek Stepan, New York Rangers forward

On the penalty kill…
“I think we did a good job in the first period of killing that five-minute major and we built some momentum off it and that’s something that your special teams has to be able to do. Even if your power play doesn’t score a goal, you can build some momentum off it, same with the penalty kill. I thought our group did a good job of responding the way we did after the first.”

On Henrik Lundqvist…
“He was our best player tonight without a doubt. We come out of the first only down 2-0 because of him and then he made some big time saves in the rest of the game.”

On the team’s response after being down after the first period…
“We responded well. I thought we took too many penalties in the first and it caused us to not be able to really get many offensive looks. They had the momentum and they had the ice tilted our way but like I said we responded the right way in the second and third.”

On the team’s thoughts after the first period…
“We’ve got to be smarter, we’ve got to be smart with our sticks, and we’ve got to stay out of the penalty box. There’s a simple message and this is something that I thought we did a good job of in the second and third.”

· Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers goaltender

On the first period…
“I think my focus after they scored the second was let’s just try to survive this period. You know the game is going to change. I also knew going into this game we had an emotional game yesterday and clinched and they had a game where they were really upset with the way they played, so I knew they were going to come out very hard. It shows how important it is to just mentally be ready. They came out flying and we had a hard time to get our game going but I knew it was going to turn sooner or later. It was important not to get hurt too bad, and as long as it was a two-goal game we were in it. We had a good talk after the first going out into the second. Obviously a big part of this game was to kill off so many power plays. That saved us tonight.”

On the message in the locker room after the first period…
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came in here, but for the most part when we are in here we know what we have to do and correct. And we know each other really well so there’s no yelling, there’s no pointing fingers. We all know we can do better and that was our focus going into the second. All it takes sometimes is one good shift to turn the momentum a little bit. Obviously killing off the 5:00 penalty was big and I think that helped us to get back in the game.”

On not allowing another goal when the game was 2-0…
“As long as you keep it a two-goal game, you know you can turn it around. You just want to get that goal on the board and get some momentum. I felt like it was important to keep it at two. You get energized too when we play the way we played, especially on the penalty kill. You see guys blocking shots. I thought the timing was really good, the pressure was really good. It was such a big part of this game because of all the penalties.”

· Chris Kreider, New York Rangers forward

On his goal…
“I think that one thing we’re doing a lot better in the third period is sticking to our structure. We were able to force a lot of turnovers coming through the neutral zone. Derek (Stepan) did a great job breaking up a play and Marc (Staal) made a really great pass to me.”

On the team’s play…
“I think every single night is a little bit different. I think every game is really independent of itself so I don’t think this group really believes in momentum, so it comes down to preparation night in and night out and just trying to be consistent especially at this point in the season.”

On winning tonight after being down 2-0…
“I think a few too many times this season we’ve found ourselves coming off a bad start in the first; down a couple of goals only because of the way Hank’s (Lundqvist) kicking, so I think something just clicked tonight. I’m glad it did.”

· Marc Staal, New York Rangers defenseman

On tonight’s game…
“Our start was brutal. I mean we were still on the plane from the night before. We weren’t very good. Hank [Henrik Lundqvist] made some saves where it keeps us within two [goals] going into the second period. I thought we started to find our legs after that kill and started to take the game over and gave ourselves a chance to win the game. So it was a good response by us.”

On getting wins down the stretch…
“You want to play for home ice and finish as high as you can. When you are playing the right way and you are playing your best hockey you are going to win games and that’s what we are trying to do.”

On playing the Islanders on Thursday…
“Obviously it’s always very intense, a lot of fun those games, and this time of year it’s going to be no different. The place is going to be rocking and it’s going to be a good playoff atmosphere type test for us at the end of the season, so it’ll be fun.”

· Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning forward

On clinching a playoff spot regardless of tonight’s loss…
“Obviously we are upset that we lost but you have to be proud that you got the points early in the season to be able to clinch a playoff spot. With tonight’s game, I thought we played a pretty good game. We had a lot of chances and made some plays. Lundqvist made some great saves and they got some timely goals on mistakes by us. It basically came down to scoring that third goal with all those opportunities.”

On tonight’s game…
“I think we had a lot of opportunities to score. Especially to make it 3-0, we had a couple there. Even to tie it up later in the game, we had some chances that just slipped away. You have to give them credit, they’re a great team. Lundqvist is a great goalie. We just couldn’t get by him.”