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Rangers' sole focus is their game plan

Monday, 05.19.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / Canadiens-Rangers series blog

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Rangers' sole focus is their game plan

MONTREAL -- The news of Carey Price's injury and that Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said the goalie won't play again in the Eastern Conference Final spread through the New York Rangers as they were on the ice at Bell Centre on Monday morning, going through their preparations for Game 2 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

At the end of the practice the Rangers players huddled in the corner to the right of the visiting goal as their five coaches on the ice stayed at center ice. The message was that just because Price is out doesn't mean the Rangers can change the way they play or get caught being overconfident against the Canadiens just because veteran backup Peter Budaj or untested rookie Dustin Tokarski will be in the net Monday night.

The Rangers won 7-2 in Game 1, but they are winless in their past 13 games after grabbing a lead in a best-of-7 series, including 0-4 this season. The last time they won a game after taking a lead was Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals.

New York blew a 3-1 lead in that series and lost in seven.

"In our last couple series we've won the first game and didn't take advantage of going out and winning another one, so it was about making sure that we up the ante, play a better game and focus on what we need to do," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "You've got to score goals the same way; get to the net, do all those types of things. That won't change with Price being out."

The Rangers were attempting to not get caught up in the bluster of the Price news that has rocked the city and the province.

Price was injured early in the second period Saturday after Rangers forward Chris Kreider, who was in on a breakaway, lost his footing and crashed feet-first into the goalie. Price stayed in the game at the time but didn't play the third period. He was on the ice for five minutes before the Canadiens skated Sunday and did not take part in the morning skate Monday before Therrien ruled him out for the series.

After calling it an "accidental" play after Game 1, Therrien used the word "reckless" Monday to describe the way Kreider went into Price.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called it "a hockey play," and said Price's injury "doesn't really change anything for us."

"We're trying to get ready for our game," Vigneault said. "Prior to the series we had prepared for three possible goaltenders, obviously spending more time on Price. It's very unfortunate what happened to him. But for us it's business as usual."

Staal said he expects an emotional response from the Canadiens, perhaps similar to the emotional response the Rangers had in the aftermath of the death of Martin St. Louis' mother.

New York has rallied around St. Louis and is 4-0 since his mother, France, died May 8 because of a heart attack.

Therrien said the Canadiens need to play well enough now so that they give Price the opportunity to play again in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has not been ruled out beyond this series should Montreal advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

"That's none of my business," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "We've got to play. We've got to prepare for the game. It's very dangerous when you start worrying about who is in the lineup. It's all about us right now and how we prepare. We've got a lot of work to do."

The Rangers do know they have to be leery about the Canadiens potentially looking to respond in kind by taking runs at Kreider or goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

"If they do something stupid they'll get a penalty," Rangers forward Carl Hagelin said. "We can't think about them trying to hurt our goalie. No one tries to hurt the other team's goalie. What happened to Price was unfortunate. Our main focus is just on playing a good game."

Richards said other teams have been taking runs at Lundqvist throughout the playoffs.

"Every series Hank [Lundqvist] has gotten just as much or more abuse than anything we've done to any other goalie, but we've had to deal with it and Hank has had to deal with it," Richards said. "He's been very good at dealing with it and we don't expect anything different."

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Quote of the Day

I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.

— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level