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Rangers embrace winner-take-all mentality of Game 7

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 6:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / Penguins-Rangers series blog

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Penguins-Rangers series blog
Rangers embrace winner-take-all mentality of Game 7

PITTSBURGH -- When New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault looked at what his team would be facing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference Second Round series, beating the Penguins four times in a seven-game span appeared to be a daunting task.

"If you had asked me before the series started against this opponent, with the firepower they have and the strength that they have, if I'd prefer to play four out of seven or one game, winner take all, I would have taken the one game, winner take all," Vigneault said.

Vigneault got what he wanted. The Penguins and Rangers will play Game 7 of their series on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers have pushed the series to this point by playing stingy defense and getting strong penalty killing.

"I'd prefer we stay out of the box," Vigneault said. "Obviously with the skill level they have, they're getting some looks. We've been fortunate to get some really big saves at the right time. Hopefully that'll continue [in Game 7]."

The Rangers coach would also like to see his team score first; the team that's scored the first goal has won all six games in the series. However, he believes it's just as important for his team to play the right way from the drop of the puck. And by playing the right way, Vigneault will be able to play to his team's strength, which is depth throughout its lineup.

"What's gotten us here is playing our bench," he said. "Playing our four lines, playing our six [defensemen], and playing the right way and playing a smart, high-tempo game. I'm confident that our guys are looking forward to this great opportunity that we have and they're going to have a good night. If it doesn't, I'll have to make some quick adjustments because there is no tomorrow if we don't win."

The Rangers had seven players on the ice Tuesday morning: forwards J.T. Miller, Daniel Carcillo and Jesper Fast, defensemen Raphael Diaz and Justin Falk, and goaltenders Cam Talbot and David LeNeveu. Other than Carcillo and Talbot, the backup goalie, none are expected to dress on Tuesday.

Here are the projected lineups:

RANGERS

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Chris Kreider

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Daniel Carcillo

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Anton Stralman - Marc Staal

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Jesper Fast, Ryan Haggerty, J.T. Miller, Justin Falk, Raphael Diaz, Derek Dorsett

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin

Jussi Jokinen - Brandon Sutter - James Neal

Beau Bennett - Marcel Goc - Lee Stempniak

Brian Gibbons - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

Rob Scuderi - Robert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Taylor Pyatt, Deryk Engelland, Chris Conner, Tanner Glass

Injured: Brooks Orpik (undisclosed), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres