New York Rangers: Vigneault says star players need to be more consistent

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In what appears to be a wide-open Eastern Conference playoff race, the New York Rangers currently secure a one-point lead on the final spot in the Metropolitan Division. If they succumb to the pressure of approaching clubs, they will fall out of the top eight and be forced to duke it out for one of the two available wild card spots. Head coach Alain Vigneault believes his team can be better, ensuring a placing in the 2014 postseason, but the Rangers’ core guys need to step up and be more consistent.

Vigneault told media today:

Vigneault’s point is valid. If you examine the everyday performances of the clear favourites in the Eastern Conference – the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins – it’s obvious the top players on the East’s division leading teams produce consistently, whether it be regular offensive contributions from Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and James Neal, or the guarantee that Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Co. will shutdown opponents basically every single night for the Boston Bruins.

Maybe Vigneault is coming to a realization that the Rangers aren’t built like the last club he coached:

Not one Ranger has accumulated double-digits in goals this season – Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan lead the team with 7 apiece.

Richards is the team’s leading scorer with 20 points, which ties him for 54th in NHL scoring.

Henrik Lundqvist has been inconsistent by his standards. That being said, King Henrik has still been strong and there is no one with any ounce of sanity who could suggest he won’t finish the season as one of the best netminders in the league, as usual. But right now, the coach wants more.

Vigneault raised a few eyebrows yesterday by not starting Lundqvist for the second game in a row. The Rangers lost the game 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets.