NEW YORK – Alain Vigneault had a joke. But like a sniper waiting for the puck, no one in the press conference before Game 4 set him up.
“I had my Netflix imitation for you guys today,” said Vigneault, sparking laughter.
The New York Rangers coach was referring to this frequently seen commercial. In which the fictional coach says:
“Do you remember that scene, in that movie from Netflix? The team was down, and the coach, he gave that speech? Do remember that scene? Do you remember what he said? WELL THAT GENTLEMEN, IS WHAT I AM SAYING!”
It’s a classic case of having nothing left to say, because it’s all been said before, which is pretty much where the Rangers are now: Down 0-3 in the Stanley Cup Final, facing elimination on their home ice to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.
What they’re left with is pulling off that odd trick of forgetting about recent history yet remembering the past; trying to remain upbeat while staring into the abyss.
“We’re professionals,” said forward Chris Kreider of their 3-0 Game 3 loss. “Twenty minutes, thirty minutes after the game, it’s washed, it’s forgotten about it. Focus on the things we did better last game.”
The fact is that the Rangers were able to roll off five straight wins after going down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that they’re playing a team that rallied from 3-0 down in the first round against San Jose – becoming only the fourth team in NHL history to do so, but the second team in the last four years to pull off the feat.
“We’ve been able to string it together before. Why not now?” asked defenseman John Moore. “Twenty-eight other teams would love to be in this position, and it’s not over. We believe in each other. We’re going to keep playing.
“They’ve shown it can be done. It’s not impossible.”
The “one game at a time” mentality is like a cliché of a cliché in hockey at this point, but it’s all the Rangers have. Game 3 was the Jonathan Quick show, but defenseman Anton Stralman said there are positives to pull from it.
“We had 22 scoring chances the other night. That’s a pretty good stat. We just have to start putting them in,” he said. “That loss obviously stung a lot. But it’s a new day today. The sun came up.”
It did, and the Rangers play another day. Although it could be one that ends with the Los Angeles Kings lifting the Cup on New York’s home ice.
“I don’t want to see them win it at all. But we want to win tonight. There’s a lot of reasons why,” said forward Brian Boyle.
John Moore, however, said keeping the LA Cup skate out of MSG is the wrong motivation to have.
“I don’t necessarily think anyone’s thinking like that, because if you’re thinking that then you’re conceding the series, I guess,” he said.
“They haven’t won anything. The series isn’t over.”