Rangers defenseman John Moore expected to return for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
LOS ANGELES - Although Alain Vigneault did not say it directly, defenseman John Moore is all but certain to be back in the lineup for Game 2 Saturday.
Raphael Diaz had stepped in for Moore, who served the final game of his two-game ban for a hit that gave Montreal's Dale Weise a concussion during the Eastern Conference finals. Diaz, who doesn't provide the physical play that the bigger and faster Moore does, played 10:15 in Game 1, with only two shifts in the third period.
"Johnny's played some good hockey for us,'' Vigneault said yesterday. "He skates with the puck well. He's lefthanded. I think it's easier to go D-to-D when you have right- and lefthanders. [Diaz, a righty] has done a good job for us.
"Johnny has been one of our consistent six defensemen that we've rolled all year. If we go that way, I'm sure he's going to be ready and going to look forward to the opportunity.''
In defense of Nash
Rick Nash scored three goals against Montreal and has none in 18 other playoff games, but Vigneault continues to defend his play.
"He's competing,'' he said of Nash, who had three shots in 15:37 in Game 1 but was on the ice for only 13 seconds on five power plays.
Vigneault avoided answering why Nash was not used more with the man-advantage. "He's done some great defensive plays,'' he said. "He's been a big part of why we have a chance to compete for the Cup. He's getting some looks. Throughout the playoffs, he is on the most positive [side] as far as scoring chances for and against. You got to believe that sooner or later they're going to go in more consistently.''