Alain Vigneault met with the media on Friday prior to the game against Columbus and said (NYR):
- On Brendan Smith, "need a good game, simple, high percentage with the puck and we need him to bring that physical element that he can bring to the table. He has been working really hard and he's gonna be ready and have a good game."
- On the 20th game, "we are on the right track, if you look at how we have played for the last month, this last 10 game segment, we have played a lot of good hockey. We tightened up defensively, we are not there yet but we have tightened up, the fact that we have been playing better without the puck has enabled us to generate some quality chances, some better looking chances. 5 on 5 there is room for improvement and our PP and PK are coming along. We are on the right track, we have a tough opponent tonight and looking forward to the matchup."
- On zone entries, "our PP in Chicago, especially that four minute, we didn't execute well and were not strong enough in puck battles. Lately we have been retrieving pucks and getting to the net and getting second opportunities but I looked at that game again yesterday and for the first 35 minutes we were pretty good and carried a lot of the play. Then we had that six minutes where we weren't so good, but again, this team tried to battle back. We are on the right track and we know we have room for improvement and we are working real hard to get it done."
- On practice yesterday, "we worked on a couple of things, our PP, our rush coverage. Chicago came at us with pretty good speed and skill and made it a little challenging. We worked on communication on those rush coverage and our entries with the puck, when you make that read at the blue line if you have room or don't, you gotta get it behind and try to get it back. If you make that initial read you are playing fast and having a good puck possession night. We worked on that and should be a good game tonight."
- On the standings, "other than Tampa Bay everyone else seems to be in a pile. The important thing for us is to take it game by game and keep improving and that is what we are trying to do right now."