Focus Shifts to Game 3 For AV

“Everything is on the table right now!”

That was the most pertinent observation made by Alain Vigneault on Sunday afternoon during a media conference call.

Looking ahead to Game 3 of the Ottawa series, the Rangers head coach, offered several comments on particular players in terms of why or why not they were used in Saturday’s loss to Ottawa.

His most optimistic point was that the Blueshirts will have an extra day off prior to the Tuesday night tilt at The Garden, with his club down two games to none.

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“I’m pleased we have that extra day because I believe it will be beneficial,” he explained. “It will allow us to check on areas where we can be better; allow us to work on things.

“We’re in the process of analyzing yesterday’s (Saturday’s) game because, no doubt, it was a tough loss.”

Pressed about why he gave some players — as an example defenseman Brendan Smith — less ice in the third period of Game 2,  A.V. insisted that it was “not play-related” and said that the blue-liner played with bite.

“Some players,” the coach pointed out, “get lost on certain shifts.”

While he allowed that “everything is on the table,” Vigneault said he “liked the looks of the three defensive pairings.

“I don’t see any changes,” he added.

That, however, is subject to change between now and the opening face-off on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Questioned about Ottawa’s second overtime winning goal, and the fact that defenseman Nick Holden got burned, “pinching” on the risky play, A.V. noted, “I’m sure, looking back, Nick would like that one back. But, then again, nobody is perfect.”

Regarding Jean-Gabriel’s Pageau’s four-goal performance — including the winning score — and the fact that Pageau is known for being a checking forward, Alain half-jokingly asserted, “We’re looking to put a checker on their checker.”

On a more optimistic note, Vigneault noted that — other than the first period of the first game in Ottawa — he seemed with pleased with his club.

“We’ve played some pretty good hockey,” he concluded prior to a meeting with his general staff.