Rangers coach John Tortorella wasn’t pleased with Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Bruins. His team now faces an 0-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals as it heads to New York.
But Tortorella also believes there were some positives to take from his team’s play — particularly in the latter part of the first period and most of the second — that they can build on in preparation for Game 3.
“I think that’s the way we have to play,’’ said Tortorella. “And I think we can, I think we can sustain that.’’
Two areas in which the Rangers struggled were in their own zone and failure to capitalize on the chances the Bruins gave them.
“The third and fourth goals are defendable,’’ said Tortorella. “We made coverage mistakes. Our second period is where we want to be. We can’t put it in the net. We had multiple chances.
“We felt really good going into the third [down, 3-2], and to have [Brad Marchand’s goal make it 4-2 just 26 seconds in], just a two-on-two, it hurts you. And then they’re just going to fill the middle and they’re just going to jam you, so we couldn’t generate much more.’’
During Saturday’s offday, Tortorella said one of the reasons he wasn’t playing forward Carl Hagelin when the Rangers had a man-advantage was because “he stinks on the power play.’’
It was pointed out in gentle terms by the media that the attack was pretty poor without Hagelin, which led Tortorella to say maybe he would return. On Sunday, that is what happened.
In the second period, Hagelin was installed on the power-play unit, but the Rangers ended the day 0 for 5. New York is an astounding 2 for 36 (5.6 percent) on the power play this postseason. “Our power play was better tonight,’’ said the coach. “Didn’t score, but it was better.’’
Leading by example
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan tallied an unassisted goal at 8:01 of the first period, giving him a point in three straight games with two goals and an assist in that span. “I thought our first period was maybe our best playoff hockey we played up to this point,’’ said Callahan, who was a factor the entire game. “We’ve got to take the positives out of those first two periods, that’s the way we have to play. If we play that way, then we’ll be OK.’’ . . . Burly forward Rick Nash, who seemed poised to break out offensively, scored his first goal of the postseason and tied for a game high with four shots in 22 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time. “He played better,’’ said Tortorella . . . Defenseman Dan Girardi had an assist on Nash’s goal. He leads all Rangers blue liners in postseason scoring with three assists. Girardi was a game-worst minus-4. Girardi feels like he let the team down on Marchand’s goal. “The first shift of the third killed us,’’ said Girardi. “I have to be ready to defend that pass [from Patrice Bergeron] there. They didn’t have much room, but obviously I have to be either on the strong side blocking that or on Marchand’s stick. That really put us behind the eight ball.’’ Marchand’s goal was a replica of the overtime goal he scored to win Game 1. Girardi was not on the ice for that one . . . Forward Derick Brassard failed to extend his point streak to seven games. It was the longest by a Ranger in the playoffs since Wayne Gretzky’s nine-game string in 1997.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.