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Rangers' Callahan calls for more intensity

Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers celebrates

Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers celebrates his first period goal with teammate Brad Richards in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (April 18, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to the playoffs, the Rangers haven't connected at Verizon Center. In fact, having lost the last five postseason games here, no one's answering the call.

Two Capitals goalies have stymied the Rangers: Michal Neuwirth in three games in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season and Semyon Varlamov in two in 2009.

Henrik Lundqvist has been in the net for all five losses for the Rangers, who arrived here Tuesday night for tonight's Game 3 and Saturday's Game 4 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal, which is tied 1-1 after the 3-2 Capitals win at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

"We've got to bring our intensity up," said captain Ryan Callahan, who had eight hits, three blocked shots and two shots in Game 2. "It's a tough building to play in. I don't know if there's any frustration. You're going to play good defensive teams in the playoffs."

In the first round, with the Rangers and Senators tied 1-1, Lundqvist came up big in Game 3 in Ottawa, shutting out the Senators, 1-0, and stopping 35 shots. In the Capitals' first series, goaltender Braden Holtby didn't fare as well in Game 3 against the Bruins at home, losing 4-3.

Regardless of the outcome in Game 3, the No. 1 seed Rangers likely will need to score more than two goals per game to dispatch the Capitals, who finished in the seventh playoff berth. Holtby has allowed five goals in the first two games of this series, which is guaranteed to come back to New York for Game 5.

Without a doubt, some of the production must come from Marian Gaborik, who scored 41 goals in the regular season, but is in a dreadful drought. The All-Star right wing has one goal in the post-season, which came at 16:24 of the second period of the first game against the Senators.

Gaborik had just one goal in four games against the Capitals during the regular season and just one seven-game goal-less skid, from Jan. 6 through the 19th. He did not skate in yesterday's optional practice at the Garden after appearing a little hesitant and managing just two shots in Game 2.

"Obviously we need him to score some goals here," coach John Tortorella said. "He was OK. I'm not going to get into a long discussion here publicly. It's something that, again, I'd rather just keep in the room right now. But again, he played better last night."

At one point, Tortorella moved Gaborik off the No. 1 line with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin and inserted rookie Chris Kreider, who has two playoff goals. Was the switch an attempt to change the matchups or give the Caps a different look? "No, no," he said. "There was a number of different things I was trying to do."

But he declined to specify those things.

Asked about his refusal to be more expansive on certain topics, whether it reflected a dislike of the media or a type of strategy, Tortorella responded: "I'm being sincere, too. I'm not going to give you much information. Some of you guys sit here and tell me I'm curt or whatever. I'm not going to have a staring contest. If you don't ask me questions, I'll just leave. So that's the way it is. I'm sorry. I'm not a guy that wants to converse about everything during the playoffs. I'm not."

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