Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who said Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Senators “buckled me a little bit,” nonetheless has faith that the Blueshirts will play in the postseason for his third consecutive year behind the bench.
“I believe this is a good team, there’s no doubt . . . a playoff team, but it is hard to get into the playoffs,” he said before Monday’s game. “Once you’re in the playoffs, I think our chances are as good as anybody else, but you’ve got to get there, and it’s a battle. It’s unbelievable how tight [the standings are] and close and hard-fought it’s going to be. We’ve got a couple players no doubt who can play better than they have and we’re working on it.”
MRI on Nash reveals bone bruise
Rick Nash, who was sidelined for his second consecutive game by the injury to his left leg when he blocked Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk’s shot in third period on Friday, had an MRI Monday which revealed no break, just a bone bruise. “It’s painful,” Vigneault said. “He should be fine when we come back from the break” on Feb. 1. Nash, who missed his fourth game of the season, has 12 goals and 21 assists. The other scratch was Dan Boyle, 39, who had played in 24 straight games, and was replaced by rookie Dylan McIlrath. “Dan looked a little tired the last couple games, he didn’t play real well, ” Vigneault said.
Road more bumpy this season
After posting a combined 53-25-4 record on the road in the last two seasons, the Rangers are 9-12-3 this season and will play 17 of the final 33 away from the Garden. “This team, since I’ve been here,” Vigneault said, “has been one of the best teams on the road. There’s not a road way to play and a home way to play. I expect us to be a lot better than we’ve shown.”