NEW YORK – Got to hand it to John Tortorella. He consistent. His Rangers can be on a 10 game losing streak or winning 12 of 14, like going into tonight’s game.
But the minute the Rangers spew out a 60 minutes where there isn’t a total effort by his team, he becomes short and to the point.
And after tonight’s 4-2 win by the Maple Leafs, Tortorella gave the press all 1:03 of his time.
“Ask me a question,” Tortorella opened up his 63 seconds after asked by Stan Fischler about his thoughts on the game. “I don’t want to just give thoughts on the game.”
Believe it or not, though, the Rangers can’t win them all and tonight’s downer was just a one game event and not a sign of an epidemic.
“Some games we are playing great,” said defenseman Dan Girardi. “Some we’re playing so-so and still staying in there having a chance to win some games. When we are playing our game it gives us a great chance to win. When we are deviating from the game-plan and doing stuff outside what we usually do that’s when we get into trouble and get down goals.”
A lackluster first period gave Toronto a 1-0 lead and by 6:39 into the second, the Leafs and their vocal fans, who took the road trip, were up 3-0. Putting the Rangers into too much of a hole.
“We didn’t get going until the second half,” said goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “You could see after [the Rangers] first goal we gained some momentum. It just shows on how the game can change from a shift of a goal. We had some big chances, but it wasn’t our night tonight.”
And that’s what almost everyone really needs to understand here. The Rangers are a good team that just had an off-night.. In fact, you could just say an off 27 minutes. But it was enough for Toronto to keep the lead and the win, no matter how hard the Ranger play during the second half.
Which is why Tortorella may have been so abrupt. There isn’t always answers to questions. Rather, things happen that allow the other hockey team to win. The Leafs played well the first part of the game and it was enough because of the strong goaltending Jonas Gustavsson, who ended up stopping 30 on the night.
Tommy Lasorda once said about his sport: “You are going to win a third of your games, no matter how hard you try and you are going to lose a third of your games, no matter how hard you try. It’s the other third you have to be concerned about.”
Tonight was one of those losers, no matter how bad you slice it. A fluke goal off a faceoff by Tim Connolly made it 2-0 after Cody Franson sent one from the top of the slot to open the scoring. Most times those are saved by Lundqvist.
Just not tonight.
Yet, this was not about the two points, rather it should be on how the Rangers will react to this loss over the next few games. With games against the Lightning, Sabres, Panthers and Stars, it’s going to be another Broadway test over the next two week.
But as they have shown for over the first two months, the Rangers are up for the task and now they just have to start another winning streak, so their coach can continue to do the favorite part of his job…
…talking to the media.