PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said matching the urgency the Philadelphia Flyers will exhibit from the outset is of utmost importance Friday in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, CNBC, MSG, CSN-PH).
Vigneault gave his players the morning off the ice but met with the media two hours before faceoff to discuss Game 4. The Rangers hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 5 is Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
If the series were to go seven games, the final three would be played in a span of four days with Game 6 (Tuesday in Philadelphia) and Game 7 (Wednesday in New York) on consecutive days in different cities.
"I wasn't here for those grueling series [of the past] but I have had my share of them; it's a tough league," Vigneault said. "Teams are good. Everybody that comes into the playoffs would like to win in four but the opposition has something to say about it.
"There's so little separating the teams now. It's more than normal that the series are hard-fought and long. We're going to go out [Friday] and put our focus on one thing and that's the game and what we need to do to have success."
The coach acknowledged that defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who returned for the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing the final five regular-season games with a left shoulder injury he sustained April 1, has done as good a job as can be expected.
"There's a lot of pressure on him and our defense right now," Vigneault said. "This team is coming at us really hard and they're coming at us physically. At this point I think we've handled it well. We're trying to come out of our end as clean as possible so that we can go and spend more time in their end but they're a good team and they put a lot of pressure on our defense."
McDonagh has been held without a point and is minus-3 in the playoffs. His defense partner, Dan Girardi, has a goal, two points and a minus-1 rating.