Vigneault: “Put on the big boy pants”

- May 5th, 2014

NEW YORK — Alain Vigneault publicly challenged his top forwards on Monday, hours before the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins met in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
When he was asked about his expectations of Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Martin St. Louis, Vigneault, the Rangers’ coach, said: “They’re big boys. Put on the big boy pants.”
That line, along with the rest of the Rangers, were held off the scoreboard in a 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The Penguins’ win evened the best-of-seven series 1-1.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were in sharp form in that game, though only Malkin had points, which came when he scored into an empty net in the final minute and on an earlier assist.
Vigneault said his star players knew they had been outplayed.
“I think they picked up on it,” Vigneault said.
And there was some disagreement from Vigneault with the idea that the Rangers, playing their sixth game in nine days, could be tired and therefore at a disadvantage. It’s a point that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has made several times.
“We’re in the second round of the NHL playoffs,” Vigneault said. “We have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. We’re excited, we’re energized, we travelled like they did last night. They got on a plane and flew here.
“I don’t see what the point is. We’re good to go.”
Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves in Game 2 for his seventh career shutout in the playoffs. Questions have followed Fleury because of playoff failures since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Bylsma was asked how Fleury draws his mental toughness.
“He gets a lot of practice,” Bylsma said. “There’s questions that have been asked for 100 days in a row. He knows the answer only comes on the ice and winning hockey games. That’s it.”
Bylsma would not give an update on his lineup, but it is expected that defenceman Brooks Orpik will miss his fifth consecutive game with an undisclosed injury.

Categories: Hockey

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