Battle Of New York Poll: Do You Agree With Vigneault’s Game 7 Lineup?

In light of the criticism coach Alain Vigneault has received since the Rangers were eliminated by the Lightning 2-0 in Game 7 Friday, I’ve put up a little interactive poll. It’s simply stated. Did he put the best lineup out for Game 7? I’m on record as saying I didn’t like reinserting Matt Hunwick as a seventh defenseman because it shortchanged the bench going against what Vigneault believes in. He contradicted himself by going with seven D and 11 forwards which hurt the rotation.

What made it worse was once Ryan McDonagh returned, Hunwick was never heard from again after taking six shifts and logging four-plus minutes. Basically, Vigneault shorted his bench by sitting effective physical forward James Sheppard. A move which made no sense especially coming off a 7-3 Game 6 win where Sheppard scored his first career postseason goal which was a big one that saw the fourth line all involved. Rather than keep him in with Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass, Vigneault risked losing that energy in a do or die Game 7.

With scoring chances tough to come by, it led to a emotionless display from the Blueshirts. The Lightning played with more passion and took the crowd out of it. Vigneault’s odd decision wasn’t the only thing off. His lack of in game adjustments hurt too. They allowed the Bolts to take away the neutral zone and keep them to the perimeter. There wasn’t enough sustained forecheck nor any Ranger willing to get their nose dirty in front of Ben Bishop. That lack of edge played right into Tampa who did what it took to win the series posting a second consecutive road shutout at The Garden.


About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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