Despite their fourth straight loss Rangers feel confident it will turn around

After their fourth straight loss to the Winnipeg Jets, 4-3 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, the injury ridden New York Rangers believe they will turn things around.  They came back in the third period and made it interesting, more so there is no sense of urgency with expectations that the injured will return soon.

“They gave a good effort and had some chances to tie it,” said the coach John Tortorella. “That’s just the way it is going right now.” After a Monday practice that was cut short, because Tortorella felt his team was not giving the effort, those were encouraging words from the coach.

And perhaps there is urgency, even if the players say there is none. Urgency because this is not a normal season, cut short by the lockout and with a four-game losing streak every game is important.

Listen to Marian Gaborik. With the Rangers at 8-8-2, and 0-3-1 in their last four games there is every hope to turn things around after losing the first of four consecutive games at home. Thursday night Tampa Bay comes to the Garden, perhaps urgent because they lead New York by one point for the eighth spot in the East.

“Hopefully we are going to get some progress from the third period,” commented Gaborik.  New York, after a pair of goals from the Jets’ Evander Kane and Ollie Jokinen made it interesting. But, it was not enough as Winnipeg won their fourth game on their five-game road trip.

Yes, the Rangers almost rallied.   Gaborik, who was a part of that intense third said, “We almost rallied. We have to play like we did in the third. We have to stay positive. We have to try and take some good things out of this game and we have to move forward.”

The Rangers are looking to move forward. But, with injuries that continue to sideline star winger Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto, they can’t blame that misfortune for their recent slide in the standings.  They expect to get one of the injured back on the ice Thursday, though the suspected concussion to Nash will continue to sideline him.

Tortorella said about the comeback effort, “I think we’ll get on our way. We can say all the things we want to say, we just have to stay with it.  This is what happens when you have the injuries. The kids are put in a spot they are not prepared for.”

The captain Ryan Callahan scored in the second period, cutting the deficit to 2-1. And he almost made it even with a goal in that fast paced third period. There was no talk that the Rangers are lacking with the power goal. There was only confidence that came out of that final stanza.

“With wins, you gain confidence,” commented Callahan. “Tonight we were making plays and controlling the play for most of the game. I thought our confidence was coming. Obviously it has been lacking the past couple of games. We are not winning and scoring enough but tonight I thought it was coming.”

And as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was talking about that decisive goal by Kane, one of three goals by the two teams, in a 1:13 time span of that third, the sense was this Rangers team was gaining confidence.

“I’ve gone over it a couple of times,” he said about the decisive goal. “And I’ve tried to find out a reason why I picked it up a little late. It doesn’t matter. I need to stop it. “

The goal, he said, squeezed through his pad and glove. “Going to think for about the next 24-hours,” said Lundqvist.

And in a season that leaves little time to think and rest, in 48-hours the Rangers will try and rely on the confidence of that third period.  There is urgency to get the injured back on ice and to turn things around.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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