GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It wasn't exactly Mark Messier's guarantee of a win before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Devils in 1994. First of all, coach John Tortorella can't score goals from the bench.
But Tortorella Thursday offered his own pledge as the Rangers prepared to try to stave off elimination in Game 5 Saturday in Washington: "We know what's at stake here . . . We'll be ready to play, I have no question in my mind . . . I guarantee that: We'll be ready to play."
His basis for confidence? A track record of rebounds.
"We've done it all year long when we've struggled," he said. "I've been with them for how many months? I know who they are . . . Each game has to be your best game of the series; we ended up losing last night. We'll be better Saturday."
Caps' poor playoff record
The Capitals won after falling behind the Rangers 3-1 in 2009 and lost to eighth-seeded Montreal after leading 3-1 last year. Moreover, in five previous best-of-seven series in which they held a 2-0 lead, the Capitals lost four. But Tortorella said he wouldn't mention any of those numbers to his team. "No,'' he said, "we're going to worry about ourselves."
Presumably, he won't refer to this one, either: The Rangers have never rebounded from a 3-1 deficit in 14 tries -- and surrendered in five games the last five times they trailed 3-1.
Capitals forward Mike Knuble (hand) remains day-to-day . . . The last time the Rangers were in a double-overtime game was on April 29, 2007, when Michal Rozsival's shot beat the Sabres, 2-1, at the Garden in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals . . . Marc Staal and other players appreciated the off day, but not Tortorella. "I'd just as soon play [this] afternoon,'' he said. "[But] with so many minutes [played] for both teams, I'm sure it'll help. The schedule is what it is."