WINNIPEG----The head to toe reference? Old news. Today coach John Tortorella went "top to bottom"----as in, we need to work on our overall game, top to bottom."
I'll add: And sideways.
After practice at Rexall Place---aka the House of Horrors this morning before catching the charter to Winnipeg---Torts was reluctant again to rehash the barrelful of flaws visibly evident in the 2-0 fall to the Oilers.
Although the coach wouldn't commit to lineup changes for the Jets game just yet, I'd think Wojtek Wolski is on the wing, to replace either cranky-kneed Mike Rupp or Erik Christensen, who saw minor minutes on Saturday.
I don't expect to see D Michael Sauer, who has missed four games with an injured right shoulder, and who took slap slots but said the trainers are wary of the impact of contact.
Rupp, according to Tortorella, has a “cranky” knee that limited him in the game and in yesterday’s practice. “Sometimes it flares up on him, so we tried to get him off the ice. We’ve got to monitor that. He has shown that he can give us good shifts, but he’s inconsistent.”
And the team’s most important player, Henrik Lundqvist, who left Saturday’s game after a recurring equipment issue in his new left skate caused pain and pressure in his left foot, completed practice and offered a thumb’s up. Tortorella said there was no lingering concern.
Ah, but there is some residue from the loss.
Brad Richards, whose two shots and a 38 percent face-off percentage against the Oilers underscored the weakest match of his six-game Rangers career, was direct.
“I think everybody realizes what happened,” said Richards. “We have a great opportunity to finish off a tough four-game swing at 3-1. We’ve got to figure it out ourselves. I’m not saying we couldn’t have won, I’m just saying that I don’t think it would do us justice to worry about Edmonton. We have to get ourselves ready and gather as much emotion and intensity as possible for the last game of a long road trip.”
Specifically, the power play (an NHL-worst 1-for-23) needs to click. “We’re not idiots, we know we’ve got to score on that 5 on 3 Saturday,” said Richards. “We need to bear down more…there’s no mysteries here.”
Michael Del Zotto said the man-advantage goals will come. “It’s a completely different look with completely new personnel,” he said. “We’re gonna be successful, it’s just a matter of time. We’ve had a few chances, just didn’t score. I had a point-blank shot and missed. It’s not so much Xs and Os, it’s a commitment to do the little things. We talked about it, now we have to show it Monday.”