ANAHEIM, Calif. - The practice arena was chilly, so Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather took a break in the sunny parking lot.
Asked about growing pains for the Rangers, who have been outscored 15-2 in their last two games under new coach Alain Vigneault, Sather told Newsday: "I thought there would be some, but I didn't think it would be this bad. It's been a struggle for some guys, but we'll be all right. I saw some improvement after the first period [with the Rangers already down 3-0 in a 6-0 loss to the Ducks]."
Vigneault believes the 1-3 start to his first season might have hidden benefits.
"As challenging as this may be for everyone -- players trying to find their game, players trying to find their rhythm -- I really believe that in an 82-game season and playoffs, this is beneficial," said Vigneault, who named Martin Biron to start in St. Louis against the 3-0 Blues Saturday night. "You go through some learning curves as a player, you get yourself out of your comfort zone. What exemplifies this is Henrik [Lundqvist] on that fourth goal."
Vigneault was referring to Lundqvist's race to the right circle to try to foil what might have been a breakaway or odd-man rush. Teemu Selanne recovered the puck, fired and hit the post, but Jakob Silfverberg put the rebound into the vacated net.
Lundqvist was "out of his comfort zone, trying to make a save and get it going," Vigneault said. "Sometimes when you try too hard or want something too bad, you're doing something that you don't want to do on the ice."
The team's play reminds Vigneault of his first season with the Canucks, when "we were trying to get our game in order. I didn't have a start like this in seven years, but a couple years we went through this. It gets everybody's attention. You find out about leadership."
Vigneault said he decided to play Biron because of "four games in six nights, with the traveling, it just makes sense.''
Biron relieved Lundqvist in a 9-2 loss in San Jose and allowed five goals. One of them was Tomas Hertl's between-the-legs shot that has sparked debate on showboating.
Said Biron, "Listen, he's a young guy. It's a shot I've got to stop. If I make the save, there's no issue."