SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Orchard Supply Hardware sign that the Rangers kept skating past at the public rink here offered advice: "The answers are out there. We'll help you find them."
But on the afternoon following Wednesday's turnover-filled 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, players said they alone needed to look in the mirror, not seek any outside assistance, to find the answers in order to bounce back from such an ominous defeat after two days off in Southern California.
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How did their intensity vanish in a game critical to their playoff hopes? How did they cough up the puck so often to the Ducks' sharpshooters? Why couldn't they get the puck out of their zone? Can they turn it around Saturday against the Sharks?
"We will discuss it, for sure," said veteran Vinny Prospal, who still seemed angry about the loss. After drills that featured pitched battles along the walls inside the blue line and bodies crashing to the ice, Prospal said: "You can lose in different ways, but the way we lost, at this time of year . . . we should be the ones responsible, we should be better. We have to make sure that we have a different work ethic and desire to play the next game."
Asked what assurances he had that the Blueshirts could recover from such a discouraging defeat, Prospal said: "We always have."
After watching video of the loss, Rangers coach John Tortorella found no silver lining except this: "We have another game coming up in two days . . . today was a lot of defensive zone coverage. We played a bad game. We haven't had many of those this year at all. We need to make some corrections, we need to bring some things to their attention, forget about that game and move on to the next one."
Several players, including Brian Boyle, who limped off with an ugly bruise after taking a slap shot off his thigh, said the intensity displayed at practice was a "good step."
Tortorella did not discuss any lineup changes . . . yet. Henrik Lundqvist will start his 14th straight game, but the coach could play center Erik Christensen or defenseman Steve Eminger, who were healthy scratches for the last two games.
"My situation means nothing; it's about the team," Christensen said. "We all want to make the playoffs. Today I was working as hard as I can in case I'm back in the lineup. I want to be around the team. I'm trying to encourage the guys before the game. I'm not sitting around saying, 'Woe is me.' ''
Clinging to a playoff spot with 13 games left, his teammates can't afford that sentiment either.