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Playoffs 2013Rangers' Tortorella staying positive ahead of Game 3

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013 | 04:28 PM

Categories: BOS vs NYR, Playoffs 2013, Second Round

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New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella is searching for encouraging signs from his team's two losses in Boston ahead of Game 3 in New York on Tuesday. (Nick Wass/Associated Press) New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella is searching for encouraging signs from his team's two losses in Boston ahead of Game 3 in New York on Tuesday. (Nick Wass/Associated Press)

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New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella worked hard Monday to see a different two games in Boston than most everybody else saw.
By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports

NEW YORK -  You can't stop what you can't see, Henrik Lundqvist reiterated Monday. So he is just going to have to do a better job looking.

"I'm trying to do better, working hard to see pucks," said Lundqvist, who plans to battle through a left shoulder injury suffered late in Game 2 of an NHL Eastern Conference semifinal against Boston on Sunday.

Good luck to 'The King' on that the way the Bruins, who scored five goals on which the goalie had little chance in Game 2, will continue to drive to the net in Game 3 Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York (7:30 p.m. ET).

Perhaps Lundqvist is taking his outlook from the lead of his coach, John Tortorella, who worked hard Monday to see a different two games in Boston than most everybody else saw.

The Rangers lost a heartbreaking Game 1 in overtime, got run over in the third period of Game 2. But only to Tortorella's naked eye was his defence stripped hopelessly in falling behind in the series 2-0.

"After watching the tape, which always helps me the next day one way or another, I saw a lot of good things," Tortorella said.

"Quite honestly, the first game, we probably should have lost by more. The second game, the score doesn't indicate how much better we played. I thought we forechecked better. I'm very optimistic about where we are going as a team.

"Some of the mistakes we made last night were surprising and a lot of it was off the rush. I think that can be fixed because that is one of the strengths of our game. That's why I am very encouraged we are going to be okay here."

After losing Games 1 and 2 in Washington, Tortorella said he thought his team was "close" and it turned out to be true. While it is an undeniable fact that no team in the history of a 94-year-old National Hockey League ever has won back-to-back series it trailed 2-0, the Rangers have developed strong survival instincts these last two springs. Counting the first-round series against Ottawa, 11 active members of the Rangers have twice survived series deficits.

"A lot of guys on this team we have been in this situation for a long time the last couple years," Tortorella said. "I'm not worried about that.

"I just want to make sure we correct the things we need to correct and I think we'll be okay. We made some mistakes that we rarely do on simple coverage. The third and fourth goals were simple coverages and we beat ourselves, not disrespecting Boston by any means, but we hurt ourselves in our play away from the puck and that is one of the biggest strengths we have.

"I'm very confident we are going to get back into that and hopefully continue the other part of our game."

That other part of the game must continue to consist of Rick Nash dominating shifts and tiring 36-year-old Zdeno Chara out.  More than scoring his first goal of the playoffs by bulling past Chara, going half the length of the ice, and decisively firing over Tuukka Rask's blocker, Nash had the puck a lot in Game 2. So did Ryan Callahan, giving the Rangers two forceful offensive lines, which they haven't enjoyed most of the season.

What the Rangers have had is consistently solid defensive zone play so Game 2 was as out of character as Tortorella suggested. Dan Girardi had the world's worst day at the office, on for all five goals against. Whether his separation from Ryan McDonagh before Game 1 has anything to do with the Bruins enforcement of Murphy's Law in Game 2, the two partners who last series defused the Alex Ovechkin bomb were back together during drills Monday.

Without Marc Staal, Tortorella had broken up the McDonagh-Girardi pairing out of respect to the depth of the Boston offense.  But with last change for the next two games, it will be the Ranger coach's call on matchups for defensive zone draws. So his best two eggs may go back into one basket, if not for the entire game, then some of it.

Loose Pucks

Both Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden practised Monday for Boston, hinting that their availability is drawing closer.  But the defense pairings stayed the same, indicating that head coach Claude Julien has no intention of fixing what isn't broken.

"Seidenberg, you saw him practice today, so he's getting closer," said the Boston coach. "Whether it's the next game or not, we'll see how he feels tomorrow.

"The best thing to do is to cross that bridge when you get to it. To procrastinate about it right now is a lot of wasted time where I could be putting it in areas of our game. When that time comes whether it's tomorrow morning or whatever, I'll be ready to make the decision."

The NHL announced that, if necessary, a Game 5 will be played on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET in Boston.

Follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @ScribeJG

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