With so many questions coming into this season, you had to wonder if John Tortorella expected this type of start from the New York Rangers.
Continuing to roll, the Blueshirts took care of business last night as the downed the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Center, 4-1.
For all the goodness that has gone on this season at 33rd Street, Tortorella put a caveat on the season. “We’re teetering on going the wrong way here,” he said to reporters before his Rangers went out against the Leafs to reporters. “I don’t want to punch holes into the team, it did win another hockey game, but we have to be aware how we play at all times no matter if we win or lose. I just see us teetering a little bit here, and it’s up to us to try to get on the right track and more consistent.”
These are the terrible Leafs though and there was no trouble from them as the Rangers rolled.
There was no trouble in the first as Brandon Dubinsky opened the scoring with four minutes left in the period.
There was no trouble in the second with the blue line coming through with goals from Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto – who also assisted on Dubinsky’s goal. To give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
And yes, there was no trouble in the third with Enver Lisin getting his first Rangers goal 2:26 into the period.
In fact, the only trouble the Rangers had was the way Henrik Lundqvist was treated getting bowled over a number of times by the Leafs again after they did it at MSG earlier in the week.
“I asked the refs in between periods, ‘What do you want us to do? What do you want the coaches to do in this type of situation when they’re not being called, when it’s not being enforced?’” Tortorella said. “We’re eventually going to have to protect him somehow, and we’re hoping that the refs do their job there. This is three games in a row that he’s been hit a couple of times.
“I don’t believe you need to protect him completely from being hit, but some of the hits that are coming on him right now, it’s ridiculous. Something has to be done, or we have to do it our way.”
Even with the brutal treatment, Lundqvist went on to have 34 saves and seemed unfazed, saying the charging just made him “angry” and he plays better when he is ticked off.
No matter, the Rangers are now done with the Leafs for a while and come back home for two more game, against the Sharks on Monday and Devils on Thursday. If the team can win both games, they will match their best start at 9-1 set in the 1983-84 season.
“As much as you can get it going right the one way, it goes pretty quickly the other way,” Tortorella said. “That’s something we need to be cognizant of.”