V for Victory. V for Vigneault.
The Rangers were relentless here on Monday night taking the body pursuing the puck and playing with passion that was missing in Thursday’s opening 4-1 defeat to Phoenix to thus record a 3-1 triumph over the Kings for the first victory of the Alain Vigneault Era.

“It’s big for everybody in the organization and it’s good for Alain” said Brad Richards who scored twice and played a spirited game. “We believe in what we’re doing every day but it never hurts to get two points on the board.
“It was night and day from a week ago as far as our compete-level and battle-level. We played with a lot more desperation. [Phoenix] was not a trademark of how we played the last couple of years.”

Probably not at all a coincidence but the indefatigable Ryan Callahan made his season debut after missing Thursday’s opener and he immediately put his inimitable stamp on the game — and on his team — by throwing two hits within 19 seconds on his first shift of the match.

It was Callahan being Callahan while also setting an example for his teammates.

“It was a little bit of both; me trying to go out and get a couple of hits to create energy for the team and me just playing the way I do to get myself into it” said the captain who missed essentially all of the second period after getting clipped on the jaw by Anze Kopitar’s stick.

“Our compete-level was something we addressed as a team after the first game. We were much better in that area and in our one-on-ones.”

Vigneault downplayed the significance of getting his first victory as coach of the Rangers — the 423d of his NHL career — but he did not downplay the significance of having Callahan in the lineup.
“It was my first time seeing him live as his head coach and he brings a lot to the table” Vigneault said. “His poise with the puck his competitive nature the way he finishes every check.