By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports
New York - After scoring just one goal in the first two games and coming home down 2-0 to the Capitals
, the Rangers may be squeezing their sticks, but coach John Tortorella does not feel he has to wring any more emotion out of his team, not even after a painful overtime loss.
"That's the furthest thing as a worry for me, this group of guys," Tortorella said. "This is a good group of guys and last time I remember you need four games to win a series.
"Our guys are fully aware of that. So, I don't even think about that."
Rangers not insulted
Perhaps Washington goalie Braden Holtby was only trying to deflect credit when he said following Saturday's 24-save, 68- minute shutout, "it wasn't a very straining game on a goalie."
The Rangers, who didn't have a shot in the final 9:43 of regulation or eight minutes of overtime, refuse to be insulted.
"If he's thinking that, we've got to be better, go to the dirty areas, make it hard, make it so he can't get out of his crease," defenceman Ryan McDonagh said. "That's one area we can focus on that might help us have a puck deflect in off somebody or something like that.
"In this series, it's tough for both teams to get goals, so maybe we just need to put a couple more bodies around the net and throw it there."
Clowe day to day
Tortorella agrees he needs more bodies to do that, but disagrees the task requires fresh and different bodies, even though Ryane Clowe, out with an apparent concussion since the next-to-last regular-season game, seems close to returning.
"I think it's day-by-day," said Clowe, a trade deadline acquisition who was 18-27-45 in 68 post-season games with the Sharks. "To have to watch the first couple games has been real difficult.
"When I come back, I'll be ready."
Tortorella was able to add two freshly rehabbed players for Game 2, inserting Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett and scratching Kris Newberry and Chris Kreider. Both were upgrades, but the Rangers still didn't score. Does the coach dare risk going down 3-0 before inserting a proven playoff scorer in Clowe? That probably will be a medical, more than a coaching, decision.
He's only tired of the question
McDonagh said fatigue was not a factor in his shooting the puck over the glass for the delay-of-game penalty that enabled Mike Green's winning power-play goal.
McDonagh's shift prior to the penalty lasted 3:04, although that included a timeout following a Rangers' icing and a stoppage at 6:08, after which Tortorella replaced defenceman Dan Girardi with Anton Stralman, but left McDonagh on.
"If you're asking me should he have been on the ice, I'd put him on the ice 10 out of 10 times in that situation," said Tortorella, who has never made a bench move he ever has second-guessed. "If it happens again tomorrow, I'd do the same thing.
"You guys are really beating that one up."
Same with his dead horse power play
, which is 0-for-7 after a 15.7 per cent regular-season success rate. "It doesn't do us any good publicly to talk about it," said the coach. "We'll see where we go with it."
Speaking of which, unseen on the ice at Sunday's practice was left wing Carl Hagelin, who effectively was benched in the third period Saturday as Tortorella moved Rick Nash onto the line with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan. Hagelin was given a "maintenance day" by Tortorella.
"I'm trying to develop more offence," said Tortorella about the line change. "I just don't think we're getting enough of it.
"Hags was fighting it a bit and I wanted to get Nash moved around and I thought it opened him up a little bit in the third period. He has a couple of great chances in regulation, but we don't score."
Tortorella said he tries not to judge a player's effectiveness by their point totals. Then again, when you score one goal in two games all the competing, checking and faceoff winning that Stepan is doing, just isn't enough.
"He's given us some good minutes, but eventually we're going to have to finish with some of our guys if we want to crawl back into this," said the coach.
Rest for the not-so-weary
Only Jay Beagle and Jack Hillen joined the Game Two scratches on the ice Sunday when the Caps practised before flying to New York.
"I brought them all in to make sure we just get hockey on your mind," said Capitals coach Adam Oates. "The thought from the staff is that even though it was an afternoon game, it's a stressful environment.
"You win in overtime you're excited. But still it's very stressful. So let the guys just breathe a little bit."
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