UNIONDALE, NY – John Tortorella’s press conference pretty much said it all, after the Rangers were smoked by the Islanders, 6-2, last night.
“I really don’t have anything to say to you guys,” the coach said tersely and after three questions with the same answer, the press conference ended.
Maybe the coach didn’t want to speak out of turn or maybe he just didn’t know why his team with only five games left in the season and a fragile playoff spot in jeopardy, decided to mail it in the last two nights.
The 1-0 loss in Buffalo on Wednesday was one thing, but this Islander game was a disgrace to say the least. The Rangers were lucky to leave the first period with a 1-0 lead, but then in the second, four unanswered goals with very little or no defense, which chased Henrik Lundqvist (18 saves) and forced Chad Johnson into action.
“We did (fall apart),” said Brian Boyle. “It just can’t happen. It’s hard and I don’t know what to say. We did some things pretty good. We had the puck, but we could have done a lot of things. We didn’t do enough.”
“We have the momentum in the first period,” added Eric Christensen. “They stuck with it and they didn’t fold. We had a letdown. When you get the first goal is what you want, but they kept coming.”
The Islanders seemed a little annoyed at Marian Gaborik’s boarding penalty on Franz Neilsen, which seemed to energize the team. For the last three minutes of the first, the Islanders took some bad retaliation penalties, but were able to hold the Rangers, then in the second, they seemed more composed and punished the Blueshirts with goals.
Now with four games left on the season, it doesn’t get any easier. First the Rangers travel to Philly on Sunday to play the Flyers, then have Boston, Nashville, and the Devils the rest of the week.
The playoffs seemed like a lock on Tuesday is now a huge question mark. With 87 points, the Rangers hold a three point advantage on Carolina, with the ‘Canes having a game in hand. It’s conceivable the Blueshirts could easily collapse based on their schedule and end up out of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
No wonder why Tortorella was speechless.