Head coach Alain Vigneault spoke in a radio interview WFAN’s Mike Francesa about the Rangers' win over Montreal and their next series against Ottawa.
“It was a hard-fought series. Both teams were very similar, very competitive, and two great goaltenders that met head-to-head.” Vigneault said of their first-round opponents, the Atlantic Division leading Montreal Canadiens.
The Rangers knocked out the Canadiens in six games, advancing into the second round with a 3-1 victory in front of their fans at home in Madison Square Garden.
To the surprise of many, but perhaps not to stalwart Rangers fans, Lundqvist beat out Price in the goalie duel. Vigneault is certainly happy with his goaltender’s performance, saying: “Hank was there, save for save”.
World class goaltending from Lundqvist will be key to winning the next series, but that shouldn't be much of a problem.
“He was phenomenal,” Vigneault beamed, “Both teams got some really good goaltending. But I think at the end of the day, Hank outplayed Price, who everybody was saying Price was the best goalie in the league”.
Vigneault guided the Rangers past arguably the league’s best goalie, now he’ll have do get them past one of the league’s best defensemen in Erik Karlsson.
“There’s no doubt in my mind what we’re going to have to do is pay special attention to Karlsson… He’s in on every rush, He’s a great first passer. So, it’s going to be a different challenge for us, but it’s going to be a good challenge and one that we’re preparing right now, and we’re going to be ready” Vigneault said, confident in his player’s ability to adapt to the Senators’ game.
The final aspect the Rangers need to focus on is shifting their game against a defense-first opponent.
“Ottawa’s got a little bit more skill, I would say, than Montreal,” he said of their second-round opponents, “it’s going to be another tough matchup there — a team that plays a real structured game when they don’t have the puck. They don’t give up a lot. They’ve become a real solid defensive team”
Game 1 between the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers will be held on Thursday, April 27th at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.