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'We're a Team That Likes Challenges'

by Jim Cerny / New York Rangers

VANCOUVER -- After arriving in Vancouver on Monday's off-day, the Rangers practiced at Rogers Arena Tuesday in advance of Wednesday's tilt against the Canucks--the start of a three-games-in-four-nights swing through Western Canada.

"It's good we came out early because it gives us time to get adjusted to the time change and everything," noted veteran center Dominic Moore after practice. "We had success on this same trip last year by coming out early, and I think it really helped."

Last season the Rangers swept their Western Canada road trip, which ran from December 13-16. New York won in Vancouver 5-1 before a 2-0 shutout victory in Edmonton the next night and a 5-2 win over Calgary on the 16th.

"It's not easy coming all the way out here and sweeping this trip," said Moore. "We take it as a challenge and we're a team that likes challenges."

This is the third time since becoming head coach of the Rangers that Alain Vigneault has returned to Vancouver, where he coached to great success over the previous seven seasons. The Rangers have won both times they have faced the Canucks out in Vancouver since Vigneault became the team's head coach.

Vigneault was in a bit of a reflective mood Tuesday as the local media asked him to reminisce on his career now that he is coming upon his 1,000th game as a head coach in the National Hockey League.

"There's no doubt that's a lot of games," said Vigneault, who will coach game No. 999 in Vancouver and then reach the 1,000 game milestone Friday night in Edmonton. "It's very humbling. This is a tough business to get into, there's not a lot of jobs. In my case, it was a tough business to get back into. If you get to that number it's because you've had great players to coach and you've obviously had great assistants to work with you and you've had great support from management and ownership."

Turning to the present Vigneault stated that he believes other parts of the Rangers game are coming along and that the team is not just solely relying on great goaltending in order to compete on a nightly basis as of late.

"We've been better in many areas, notably with our puck possession and the decisions we've been making with the puck," explained Vigneault. "We're on the right track, I think, and I see a mindset from our group to continue that."

The Rangers are coming off an impressive all-around game Sunday at The Garden, a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

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