Rangers look to even series with Bruins
Web linksSteve Zipay's Blue Notes
BOSTON - All the same bases were touched by the Rangers, the same chords played, while they explained what they need to do to beat the Bruins Sunday afternoon in Game 2 and tie their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"Coming out with a little better start," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We want to get back to our aggressive style.''
Ryan Callahan said the Rangers need to "try to get the forecheck going, creating turnovers. That's how we get most of our offense."
Said Derick Brassard: "We just want to worry about our game and dictate our pace."
But those are on-ice tactics, as critical in the playoffs as the regular season. Coach John Tortorella cryptically hinted that there might be some changes outside the rink.
"I'm not a big adjustment guy," Tortorella said after a full practice Saturday at TD Garden. "You look at some small things after Game 1. To me, it's not so much on the ice; there's some other adjustments we have to go through, and a lot of it's not on the ice."
Tortorella has spoken at length about mind-set and focus and "going about our business" this season but would not specifically discuss the issue. "I don't want to talk about it," he said. "I'll answer that question later in the series.''
But it could get late early, as a great Yankees catcher once said, if the Rangers slip into a 2-0 hole against Boston.
The Bruins have proven that they are resilient, especially in the past two games, in which they rallied from a 4-1 third-period deficit in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs to win in overtime and came back from a 2-1 deficit in the third period Thursday night, dominating the Rangers in overtime for a 3-2 victory.
"There seems to be another gear in there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Like the Bruins, the Rangers did not alter their lines or defensive pairings in practice, but Tortorella did point the finger at the first line of Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Callahan as lacking. "If we want to continue to get better as a team in this series, they're going to have to be better," he said.
The power play, in a 2-for-31 rut, needs to click. Tortorella might resort to using the speedy Hagelin on the power play, although he is far from thrilled with that prospect.
"He stinks on the power play. He stinks," Tortorella said, part bemused and part serious. "I don't know why. I wish I could put him on the power play. Every time I put him on, he stinks . . . I think he's too quick, he's a jitterbug and he screws it up, but again, I may use him. I love the guy . . . He does everything else well.
"It screws me up, too. I'd like to put him on. I can't figure it out. He is such an effective player. He's a good player and he's really important to us, but it just has not worked out there. But he may get an opportunity there the way we're going."