Rangers need more 'A' games against Kings, says Vigneault

Thu Jun 5, 2014 4:33pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault has urged his players to step up for Saturday's Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals after goalie Henrik Lundqvist was one of the few bright spots in their series-opening loss.

Lundqvist made 40 saves and almost single-handedly kept his team in Wednesday's Game One after they failed to build on a strong start against the Los Angeles Kings, jumping to a 2-0 lead before falling 3-2 in overtime.

"One thing that's real evident to me, and it should be to our whole group, is we're not going to beat this team if we do not all bring our 'A' game," Vigneault told reporters at his team's hotel on the Santa Monica beach front on Thursday.

"It is that strong of an opponent that we're playing against. We had (Lundqvist) that brought his 'A' game last night. We had a couple guys. I don't want to name who I think brought their 'A' game.

"But our 'B' game won't do it. We're not going to win if we bring our 'B' game to the table. They're one of the best teams I've seen in a long time. Areas to exploit, they don't jump out at you. We're going to have to be better than we were."

The Rangers, back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since winning the coveted trophy in 1994, were totally outplayed by the Kings during the third period and relied on Lundqvist's brilliance as they were outshot 20-3.

"I thought our first 40 (minutes) was good," said Vigneault. "Both teams were battling real hard. I'm not quite sure yet what happened in the third. I haven't sat down with our players yet to discuss it.

"But obviously our game in the third wasn't good enough. (The Kings) had a real strong push. (Lundqvist) was the reason why we went to overtime. We're going to have to be a lot better than we were.   Continued...

Jun 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault speaks at a press conference after game one of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports