Alain Vigneault has been to two Stanley Cup Final series as an NHL head coach and he’s still looking for his first championship.
His most recent defeat came at the helm of the New York Rangers, who were defeated in this year’s Cup Final by the Los Angeles Kings in five games.
Despite winning just a single game against the Kings, Vigneault believes his 2014 Rangers squad was closer to winning the Stanley Cup than the 2011 Vancouver Canucks that he helped lead to Game 7 of the Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.[tweet https://twitter.com/AGrossRecord/statuses/478607156447805441 align=”center”]
Is Vigneault right?
Well, the Rangers lost three of their four games by one goal, and all three of the contests in Los Angeles went to overtime. A couple of bounces or a luckier deflection could have changed the series dramatically for New York.
The Canucks took a 2-0 lead against the Bruins, then lost four of the next five by a combined score of 21-4, which included Boston victories of 8-1 (Game 3) and 4-0 (Game 7). Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo allowed a total of 17 goals in the final five games and was pulled twice. By the time Game 7 started, there was very little confidence in Luongo’s ability to close the deal, despite the fact that he was 3-0 on home ice in the series.
Even though the Rangers’ loss to the Kings was a lot closer than the 4-1 series line would indicate, it’s hard to make a strong argument that New York was closer to winning the Cup than Vancouver in 2011. After all, the Canucks had two chance to win the Cup that season, a situation that the Rangers never found themselves in this year.