Pump up balloon.
It's a time-honored tactic and sometimes it works. That's the message Alain Vigneault sent through the media on Friday after the Rangers practiced and headed to Montreal for Game 1 on Saturday.
"I know they went into the Boston series saying that they felt Boston didn't respect them. We respect Montreal quite a bit. They're a team that has beaten the No. 1 team in the NHL right now, a team that beat the New York Rangers in five games last year."
“We know going into this series that, rightfully so, they’re the favorites. It’s going to be the first time in this playoffs,” Vigneault said. “Against Tampa Bay and against Boston, they were the underdogs, they didn’t have home ice. Now, they’re going into this series that very likely they’re expected to win. Pressure does funny things to different people. I’m anxious to see how we’re going to react. I’m sure they’re anxious to see how they’re going to act."
Vigneault said he has watched all four games of the Canadiens’ first-round sweep of the Lightning and “almost all of the games” of their series against the Bruins in the last two days, and can't find any holes. Or so he says publicly.
“I’ve got a few more I want to watch tonight,” Vigneault said. “I haven’t found anything yet that I can grasp, put my hand on, as far as trying to exploit against this team, yet. I haven’t been able to."