At this stage of the season, there are relatively few question marks between division rivals, especially when the face off in the postseason. After four regular season games and one postseason game, the Penguins and Rangers have a pretty good feel for one another in regards to personnel and styles of play.
One member of the Penguins who has a better feel than most for the system employed by Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is Penguins left winger Tanner Glass.
Glass spent parts of two seasons playing for Vigneault with the Canucks in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and was a member of the team which won the Western Conference title in 2011.
Recently, Glass talked about Vigneault and various members of the Rangers:
How similar does this Rangers team play to Vigneault's teams in Vancouver?
“I think it’s very similar. He likes an up-tempo game. He likes a good transition game. If you turn the puck over, he wants to back really quickly. He likes his defensemen gap to be tight all over the ice. He like when you [an opponent] picks a puck up, a defenseman or a forward to be on you quickly to take away your time and space. I definitely see similarities between the Canucks and the Rangers. “
What did he offer you in Vancouver?
“He was a great coach. He taught me a lot about the game. It was my first chance to play to really play consistently as an every day player in the NHL. He instilled a lot of confidence in me. He taught me to play the game the right way. In his mind, there’s a right way to play the game and a wrong way. “
Is he a good-guy or a bad-guy type of coach?
“He’s a good guy. He doesn’t over-manage, that’s for sure. He tells the guys the message is straight forward and clear but it’s not overplayed or overdrilled in to you. The boys are trusted to do their thing and play the right way. “
Why has the Derick Brassard-Benoit Pouliot-Mats Zuccarello line given your team trouble this season?
“They’re a very good line. You look at a guy like Pouliot, he’s big. He’s playing big right now. He skates well. Really good hands. I think he’s really coming into his own right now. Brassard has been a good faceoff guy for them and a pretty gritty guy in both ends of the rink. Zuccarello is so tricky. He’s so shifty out there. He’s got a really long stick. Just when you think he’s got him. He’ll make a pass through your legs or make a play around you. That’s definitely a line we have to be mindful when you’re on the ice and play them hard. “
How important is it for Penguins forecheckers to punish the Rangers' defensive pairing of Ryan McDonag and Dan Girardi?
“That’s huge. When they’re playing the minutes they are, anytime you can get a lick on them, whether the game is 4-1, you want to get in on the forecheck. It’s not about this game, it’s about the whole series. If it comes down to Game 7, it would be nice if those guys have a couple of bumps and bruises. “
(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images and Mike Stobe/Getty Images)