Rangers again will try to keep their season alive Saturday night
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Nineteen of the 20 Rangers who played in the team's season-saving 4-3 overtime victory over the Bruins on Thursday night were back on the ice Friday for an upbeat optional skate.
The lone Ranger to get a rest was Chris Kreider, who scored the game-winning goal. Kreider got what the team called a "maintenance day."
The Rangers, who are trailing 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, would like to have another optional skate Sunday. But that will happen only if they beat the Bruins in Boston Saturday night in their fourth elimination game of this postseason.
The Rangers won the first three, starting with Games 6 and 7 against Washington in the first round, and then Thursday night's game at the Garden.
"We worked for too long and too hard to go out in four straight," goalie Henrik Lundqvist said Friday.
The Rangers improved to 6-1 in elimination games in the last two postseasons. It's something the players and coach John Tortorella can point to, but not rely on, as they look to become the fourth team in NHL history to win a series after being down 3-0.
"I don't think our team gives," Tortorella said. "We've done some good things there. I go back to the first series, just winning two in a row to win that series. That's something you try to hang your hat on, I guess."
Still, Tortorella said, "I'm not a real big believer in it. I think every game is a different situation. But our team doesn't give. Listen, we were ugly the first part of [Game 4]; we end up finding ourselves after a fluky goal. I think we played better. Bottom line is all is forgiven. You don't go back and dissect it. You won a game to keep yourself alive, and that's what we have to look to now. Just win a game."
The fluky goal Tortorella mentioned was one that will go down in franchise lore if they do manage to win this series. With the Rangers trailing 2-0 in the second period, Carl Hagelin scored when Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask fell down and was helpless to stop the puck from rolling in off Hagelin's stick.
The Rangers had been lamenting the bounces they didn't get in the first three games. They got a big one Thursday night and took advantage of it, playing with much more desperation and moxie after that.
"It's two teams that play pretty similar when both teams play at its best," Lundqvist said. "I think for a couple of games they were the better team, but for the second half [of Game 4], I thought we really turned the momentum and played a really strong game. So hopefully we can continue that."
If not, there won't be any skating going on at the MSG Training Center Sunday.
"In the back of your head, you know there's no turning back, there's no option," Lundqvist said. "You have to leave everything out there. You try not to change the way you think about the game, but of course you know that if you don't do well now, it's over."