Rangers overcame hardship to get to Stanley Cup final

Rangers superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist embraces teammate Brad Richards after New York eliminated...

Rangers superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist embraces teammate Brad Richards after New York eliminated Montreal in the Eastern Conference final. The Rangers are back in the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 20 years. (Getty Images/AFP)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:35 PM ET

Alain Vigneault couldn’t help but crack a joke.

In the hour on Thursday night after his New York Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup final, the head coach was asked what his honest answer would have been had he been told in October that his club would be competing for the Cup.

“In October?” Vigneault said with a laugh. “Probably would have said, ‘What are you smoking?’ ”

That the Rangers started the 2013-14 regular season with a mere three wins in their first 10 games means absolutely nothing now. Those early stumbles are so last year, but not entirely unexpected given Vigneault was trying to put his stamp on the team after taking over from John Tortorella.

“There were some down moments this year, to be honest, and it took a little while to get everyone going,” said Brad Richards, who doesn’t wear the C for the Rangers — no one got it after captain Ryan Callahan was traded to Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis — but is the team’s unofficial captain.


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