‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
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Losing in overtime and relinquishing a series lead can be crushing to some, but not to John Tortorella and his resilient New York Rangers.
“I don’t think we played a bad game at all. You’re not going to get me to say there was a lot of bad things that went on with our game,” Tortorella said during his post-game press conference following the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime defeat in Game 4.
“I’m encouraged with the team, I thought we played better minutes tonight than in a lot of games, other than the first game. It’s frustrating to lose in overtime, but there are some good things. I still think we need some more guys involved, but hey, we lose two overtimes, it’s 2-2. We’re going back home,” Tortorella explained.
There’s no need for him or his players to be worried. The Rangers have responded positively to challenges like these during the regular season and persevered after the disappointment of losing Game 2 in overtime.
Wednesday’s overtime defeat is just another temporary setback. When Tortorella and his Rangers hit the practice ice, it will already be out of their system. This group doesn’t get deflated. All you need to do is study the words of assistant captain Brad Richards.
“Any time you have a lead, you don’t want to lose it. But it doesn’t matter right now,” Richards said. “It’s over and it’s time to move on to the next one. We’ll take a look at it and build on the stuff we did well and see where we need to improve.”
One area that must improve immediately is puck possession, something the Rangers lacked for long stretches during their two-game stay in Ottawa. The Blueshirts were fortunate just to make it to overtime in Game 4.
The Senators closed out the third period by opening a shooting gallery on Henrik Lundqvist as Rangers’ skaters were unable win back the puck and stayed alive purely through the labor of blocking multiple shots.
With the series shifting to Madison Square Garden, I’m confident Game 5 will be a different story for the Rangers. As I said earlier, the sting of defeat is already out of their system. The Rangers will be energized by the home atmosphere and respond in emphatic fashion.
Whenever the Rangers have needed to reach down within themselves for something extra, the resiliency has been there all year. This team has a real identity and a deep trust in one another. They understand how to execute their philosophies and ‘win their way,’ which is precisely what will happen in Game 5.
Can the Rangers regain momentum in Game 5? Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.