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Rangers coach Alain Vigneault won’t use fatigue as excuse for loss

San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski, left, celebrates

San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski, left, celebrates with Joe Thornton (19) and Tomas Hertl (48) after scoring a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, right, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 19, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) Credit: AP/ Tony Avelar

SAN JOSE, Calif. — After Saturday’s 4-1 loss, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault refused to publicly use the excuse of having three games in four days. “I knew today was going to be a tough game,’’ he said. “Any time you play three in four, it’s tough physically and tough mentally. I really believed we had taken good steps, but [the Sharks] played a real strong game.”

The Rangers are off Sunday and will host the Florida Panthers on Monday in the first of four games this week. The Bruins visit Wednesday, a trip to Montreal awaits Saturday, and then the Rangers will have a key divisional game against the Penguins on Sunday at home.

“We’ve got to look at what our next job is,’’ Ryan McDonagh said. “The next job is to go back home to MSG and compete hard for one another and look each other in the eye and forget about that game.”

Derek Stepan said the team had expected a barrage from the Sharks. “Their mindset is to shoot a lot of shots, from everywhere,” he said. “We have to make sure that we’re able to recover and not continue to get hemmed in. But all we really can do at this point is reset ourselves.”

Rangers’ big guns silent again

Rick Nash, who limped to the bench late in the second period after his left leg buckled on a rush, hasn’t scored in five games since returning from a bone bruise in that leg. Eric Staal has one assist in the last six. Chris Kreider had no points on the three-game trip. Neither did Stepan. Of the six goals in California, four were scored by defensemen. There certainly could be a line shakeup on Monday, and Oscar Lindberg, a healthy scratch for all three games when the Rangers could have used some fresh legs, could get a look.

New York Sports