Given the opportunity to respond to Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin's "we're going to come back and win this series" statement from Sunday, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault pleaded ignorance and wouldn't bite when he was essentially bated for bulletin-board material Monday.
"To tell you the truth I haven't heard about the comment, but at the end of the day I would expect players from both teams to want to come in and win," Vigneault said. "For us, our focus and our preparation is going to be on what we need to do for this Game 7. We've had some experience in the past. We know we need to stay in the moment and focus on the process, and that's what we're going to concentrate on doing on Wednesday."
Ovechkin and the Capitals exuded confidence after their 4-3 loss in Game 6 on Sunday that evened the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series at 3-3 heading into Game 7 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Washington's captain twice said the Capitals are going to win and the second time added they will play the Montreal Canadiens or Tampa Bay Lightning, which will happen if the Capitals win.
Tampa Bay leads that best-of-7 series 3-2 heading into Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
Washington goalie Braden Holtby said if the Capitals play their game for 60 minutes "percentages are in our favor for a win."
Nobody from the Rangers' side has offered any such proclamations about Game 7, and if they follow Vigneault's cues nobody will.
Confidence is not an issue for the Rangers, who have won five consecutive Game 7s, including two in a row against the Capitals, but Vigneault essentially said it's not worth saying anything to show your belief when it should be obvious by this point that each team has that already.
"Use logic," Vigneault said. "Is it logical to assume that players from both teams are going to want to win Game 7? Is it logical to assume that we're going to do everything that we can to prepare ourselves to go out on the ice and execute?
"We were a little less than two minutes away from our season being over [in Game 5]. We crawled our way back in. We're still breathing. We found a way to win Game 5. We found a way to win Game 6. We're going to try to find a way to win Game 7."