LOS ANGELES -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault talked about the hockey gods after a 2-1 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings. He talked about how he's a believer in them, and how they were there for the Rangers on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Now, on Friday the 13th, with the Rangers again trying to extend the Stanley Cup Final in Game 5 at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), what does the coach think the hockey gods might have in store?
"I'm sure it's a good day," he said before laughing during his press conference more than two hours before game time. "Everything is going to work out fine."
Vigneault said he believes that not because of the hockey gods but because of how the Rangers have played at Staples Center. They won their only game here during the regular season and held 2-0 leads in Games 1 and 2 of the Final, only to lose each in overtime.
Even though the Rangers won Game 4, they believe Games 1 and 2 were their best of the series. They think Game 4 was their worst.
"We know that we can play better than we did last game; we're going to have to," Vigneault said. "We've played well in this building. We've played real well on the road. We need to put our best game on the ice [Friday night]."
Vigneault said the Rangers did that for about 30 minutes in Game 4. They built a 2-0 lead and were able to hang on despite the fact they rarely had the puck in the second half of the game. They were outshot 26-3 after Kings captain Dustin Brown scored to make it 2-1 at 8:46 of the second period.
"We're going to try to have the puck a little bit more [Friday night]," Vigneault said. "We're a good team when we go north-south real quick and have puck possession in the other team's end. That's what we're going to do [Friday night]."
The fact the Rangers didn't do that in Game 4 yet won has served to fuel their confidence.
"Oh absolutely," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We've played better games here than in the game we won, so in that aspect we want to get some redemption here and to prove we can play the way we want and come out with a victory."
Here are the projected lineups:
Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash
Chris Kreider - Dominic Moore - Martin St. Louis
Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Brian Boyle - Brad Richards - Derek Dorsett
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
John Moore - Kevin Klein
Scratched: Daniel Carcillo, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Justin Falk, Raphael Diaz
Injured: Cam Talbot (undisclosed)
Marian Gaborik - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford - Mike Richards - Trevor Lewis
Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene
Scratched: Robyn Regehr, Colin Fraser, Jordan Nolan, Linden Vey, Andy Andreoff, Brayden McNabb, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Jeff Schultz, Jean-Francois Berube