Read: The Rangers style in the playoffs

Rangers MuralFollowing the Rangers win over the Hurricanes, Dave Maloney spoke about the style of play the Rangers currently have and how that might work in the playoffs.

He said, “their game will still be puck possession and skill. The ice gets smaller and there isn’t a lot of room and that is the next evolution of that style. The style that has been here the last 4 or 5 years is probably a little more conducive to hunkering down in the playoffs. I think it will be a challenge.”

Maloney added that the injuries the Rangers have suffered on defense should make them a deeper team, because more guys have gotten to play, in the playoffs.

Brad Richards said that he is confident that if the Rangers can play their game and do what they are supposed to they will give themselves a “chance to do some great things.” (NY Times)

Alain Vigneault said earlier in the week that the Rangers strengths of their game are playing a fast, North/South, smart checking game.

Ray Ferraro said earlier this week, “they are fast, aggressive, compete hard on the puck and while they are not really big up front, they will create problems for a Flyers team that doesn’t defend especially well. They also have a very solid defense with Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, those guys play a lot of the game for the Rangers. They have the best goalie in the series and I think it’s enough for the Rangers. (TSN)

Poll: Who will win the Rangers/Flyers series?

Alain Vigneault

Recap: Alain Vigneault on ESPN Radio

Alain Vigneault joined Don La Greca and Alan Hahn on The Michael Kay Show:

  • Does anything change from regular season to playoffs, “we aren’t going to change how we have played. In my estimation it’s been very successful since the beginning of December and allowed us to make a push here and to get into the playoffs which is not easy to do. Our style will not change but obviously what will change is preparing for one opponent. We need to win four games to move on. The Flyers have a great group of forwards, a good combo of skill, size and grit and a good group of D who move the puck well. We have a good challenge in front of us and our guys have prepared well for the past few days and we are looking forward to the opportunity to compete.”

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MSG Bridges

Read: The impact of having home ice

Since the 2005-06 lockout, the Rangers are 18-14 at MSG in the playoffs and 12 and 24 on the road.

Henrik Lundqvist was asked on MSG last week about home ice and said, “I think the first couple of games it doesn’t matter but when it’s game 6-7, having 7 at home is pretty good. The focus doesn’t change in the playoffs but the experience does, to play at home is such a great feeling, to feel the atmosphere and support you get goosebumps and I want to play as many games at home.”

Marc Staal (MSG) added, “It’s an extra game and home and it’s the biggest thing. If it gets late in the series it’s an advantage to have that game in your home rink. We have gone through it before and had some success so it’s always an advantage.”

Read: Brad Richards isn’t thinking potential buyout like he did last year

Brad Richards4/15/14: 10:26PM: Brad Richards tells Larry Brooks that last season the potential that the Rangers could use an amnesty buyout on him was on his mind a lot, “consumed” him and “it took over my whole situation, to be honest about it.” (NY Post)

This season, Richards says that it’s been in the back of his mind but not weighing on him or impacting his game in any way. He adds that he has no idea if a decision has been made or which way the team may be leaning as he hasn’t spoken with anyone in management about it.  (NY Post)

Richards says that he wants to play well in the playoffs not because of anything with his contract but because he is hungry to win another Stanley Cup. (NY Post)

Brooks describes the situation as “the possibility, if not the likelihood” that Richards will be bought out with no cap ramifications. (NY Post)

On the team going into the playoffs, Richards says that he likes the mix of veterans and young players and the ability of the team to win in different ways. (NY Post)

THIS SECTION is all about a potential Richards buyout.

Adam Rotter: The thing with the Richards buyout that doesn’t make sense to me is why they would buy him out when he was much better this year. It would have been one thing to buy him out after a bad season like last year, but he has been much better this year so buying him out now, when you know he can still play good hockey, doesn’t make sense to me. The idea of buying him out, because of potential cap recapture penalties and because he isn’t worth his cap hit or salary is one thing, but to buy him out after he proved them right for keeping him doesn’t.

Alain Vigneault

Recap: Alain Vigneault’s comments today

Alain Vigneault met with the media today following Rangers practice (Rangers) :

  • On which goalie for Philly, “two very good goalies and we have prepared for both.”
  • On what McDonagh brings, “Ryan plays big minutes against top lines, plays big minutes 5 on 5 and PP and PK, my estimation he is one of the best young defensemen in the league and will only get better. Great skill set, great conditioned athlete, committed to becoming the best player he can be and he took big strides this year and I expect that to continue. First opp to have a real big role on our team in the playoffs, he wasn’t playing PP before and he is now and we need him to be real effective back there.”

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Read: How Henrik Lundqvist overcame his early season struggles

Henrik LundqvistIn a poll asked in the middle of December, 84% of readers said that Henrik Lundqvist was deserving of part of the blame for the Rangers struggles.

By month, Lundqvist’s numbers were:

  • Oct: 3-5, .908 save percentage, 2.84 GAA, 2 shutouts
  • Nov: 5-6, .924 save percentage, 2.27 GAA
  • Dec: 4-4, .888 save percentage, 3.08 GAA
  • Jan: 8-3-1, .938 save percentage. 1.91 GAA, 1 shutout
  • Feb: 2-2, .930 save percentage, 1.92 GAA
  • March: 8-5-1, .917 save percentage, 2.44 GAA, 2 shutouts
  • April: 3-1-1, .949 save percentage, 1.57 GAA

Lundqvist admitted that he was dealing with some distractions early in the season and that his ongoing contract issue played a part. Larry Brooks says that Lundqvist also dealt with an injury that remains undisclosed and that combined with his contract issues, Lundqvist called the early part of this season the most challenging part of his career. (NY Post)

Lundqvist said that he was so disappointed with how the season started and that it took him some time to realize that correcting things would be a process and not something that can be fixed in one moment. (NY Post)

He also met with a sports psychologist, Dr. Fred Neff, someone who he has worked with for three years. (NY Post) Lundqvist said that he spoke with someone who asked the right questions and allowed him to work certain things out. (Newsday)

Lundqvist said that the Christmas break allowed him to collect his thoughts and realize that he was being too aggressive and needed to be more patient in net. (NY Post)

92.8% of readers think that Lundqvist can lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup.

Read: Derick Brassard says he is 100% and will play tomorrow (Update)

Derick Brassard2PM: Brassard said today (Rangers) :

  • “It’s just a precaution yesterday, I felt great today, I feel 100% for tomorrow.”
  • “There is no question in my mind, it’s just precaution. The day off that I kind of had yesterday to get off the ice helped me get to 100% and I am going to try and help the team win some games.”
  • “Not really, the two days off that we had were good for the team to get away from the game and the rink a little bit. I think it’s just a matter of resting before the game tomorrow and I feel 100% so I am just ready to go.”
  • Did something tweak it, “no, not at all. You go through a season and battle injuries, everyone does and it’s a long season and it’s why I think we got those two days off. Probably three days ago I was not 100% but the last two days I am 100% and that is what counts. I want to be ready to play tomorrow.”
  • On Mason not playing, “For us it doesn’t matter if it’s Mason or Emery, they are both good goalies, Steve had a good season but I think Emery is a goalie that has shown in the past that he can play in the playoffs. For us we focus on how we want to play and it doesn’t really matter who will be in net for them.”

1:51PM: Brassard said that everything with his back has been a precaution and that getting off the ice yesterday allowed him to get to 100%. (NY Post)

12:18PM: Derick Brassard said after practice that he is 100% and there is no doubt in his mind that he will play tomorrow. (John Giannone)

Brassard said that he is dealing with a lingering issue and trying to rest. He says that leaving practice early was a coaches decision and and that he could have finished. (Andrew Gross and Steve Zipay)

Read: Ryan McDonagh will have a target on his shoulder

Ryan McDonagh2:45PM: McDonagh said today (Rangers):

  • “I feel good and am excited to get in a game tomorrow.”
  • On wanting to play, “I’m excited, these guys, being able to watch a few games, it’s a fun team to watch and even better to be on the ice. Just try to make an influence every shift.”
  • Is there benefit to rest, “you aren’t playing every other night you will feel better legs wise but I am just excited to try and make good decisions and try to win.”

More from McDonagh, below

1:50PM: McDonagh told reporters today that he has no restrictions on anything with his shoulder and there is no point in asking him about it anymore. (NY Post)

8:35AM: Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers opponents in the playoffs, which is now confirmed as the Flyers, will go out of their way to target the injured left shoulder of Ryan McDonagh. (NY Post)

Brooks says that the puck will be dumped in on McDonagh’s corner each time down the ice and forecheckers will arrive “with malice” to put his shoulder into the boards. (NY Post)

Brooks says that it could be a situation reminiscent of the last time the Rangers played the Flyers in the playoffs where Trent Klatt hurt Brian Leetch’s right wrist.

Elliotte Friedman writes that McDonagh’s shoulder will definitely be tested by the Flyers. (CBC)

Sc0tt Hartnell said that the Flyers definitely want to be physical with McDonagh but not in a way that will cause them to take a penalty. (Ranger Rants)

2:40PM: Wayne Simmonds says that he will certainly hit McDonagh if he is on the ice against him and that the Flyers will want to put pucks into the corner and “punish” him so that he will wear down over time. (Ranger Rants)

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