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Alain Vigneault takes shot at officiating

New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches

New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches a replay during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. Credit: AP / Joel Auerbach

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Fourteen penalties were assessed in the Rangers’ 4-2 win in Pittsburgh on Saturday; nine were called in Game 1. On the eve of Game 3, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault took a swipe at the officiating.

“I would say there’s a couple of penalties we have taken that were unnecessary,” Vigneault said. “On the counter side, I think we have been on the end of a lot of hit situations and stickwork that has not been called. I can think of Derek [Stepan] on his own, three times last game, where there were obvious penalties that had not been called.”

Having made his opinion public, Vigneault said: “You’ve just got to play through it and stay focused. We’ve always been very disciplined and play hard . . . on the right side of what’s tolerated by the league.”

Yandle’s challenge

With the new coach’s challenge on scoring plays that may be offside, Keith Yandle said players on the bench are paying closer attention. “When you’re sitting on the blue line, you can let the coaches know if you saw something, give them some input,” he said. “We have the eye in the sky and video, but it’s just everyone being aware on the bench. We probably weren’t as into it before.”

Marc Staal’s playoff thrill

The thrill of playing with older brother Eric Staal has been surpassed by the playoff games, Marc Staal said. “When we started, just before Game 1, you look across the [locker] room and kind of shake your head. It was pretty cool,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get a chance; I’m pretty fortunate. But now I’m really not thinking about it.”

Rookie Skjei is impressed

Skating in the NHL playoffs “is awesome,” said rookie defenseman Brady Skjei, 21. In terms of intensity, the only comparison he could make was to the NCAA championship game. In his sophomore year, he played for Minnesota in a 7-4 loss to Union College. Said Skjei, “And that’s not really even close to this.”

New York Sports