Blue Notes

Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.

NHL: Games 1, 2 of ECF set for Monday, Wednesday

                   If Rangers win Game 7 Saturday, the Eastern Conference Finals start at MSG on Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m.

                  If Caps win Saturday, the Devils host em on the same nights at The Rock.

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                  In a brief conference call,coach John Tortorella said it wasn’t what the Capitals did Wednesday to defuse the Rangers, “the onus was on us. We’ve already met on it, moved by it, and are looking ahead to Game 7. I have a ton of optimism about our club; our club has gone through a lot of different things as far as momentum, all through the year and playoffs and I have nothing but confidence as far as what’s going to happen Saturday.”

                    As has been his pattern, Tortorella declined to discuss strategies to spark an offense that has scored 13 goals in the previous six games. “We’ve discussed that as a team and we’ll keep it in our locker room,” he said.

                    After losses, Tortorella often shuffles lines, and that could happen on Saturday, especially with the second and third trios. Third-line center Brian Boyle was ineffective on a second line; Derek Stepan may be moved up, and perhaps rookie Chris Kreider, who played just 6:06, will see more ice time. “He’s a young man trying to learn the game,” said Tortorella. “I think he’s improving and we’ll see where it goes.”

                     Reasons for optimism? The Rangers are 4-5 all-time in Game 7s, but a perfect 4-0 at home. The Capitals are 3-7 and 1-1 on road. Then again, no team has ever won the Stanley Cup after being forced to Game 7s in the first two rounds.

                   Rangers practice at 11 tomorrow after day off the ice ...More later...

  

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