NHL - Rangers bank on short-term memory
The New York Rangers refuse to spend time thinking about missed opportunities after failing, for the third time, to capitalise on series-opening victories in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.
Just as they did in the first two playoff rounds, top-seeded New York let the visiting team draw even in the series, in this case handing home-ice advantage over to the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final.
"You have a short-term memory come playoff time," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said on a conference call. "Playoffs are a whole different animal. We don't spend too much time talking about streaks."
After losing Game Two in each of the prior two series, the Rangers responded with Game Three victories but were forced to capture decisive seventh game wins before making the conference final, one stop short of playing for the Stanley Cup.
The conference final shifts to New Jersey for Saturday's Game Three and Monday's Game Four, where Tortorella said his team will not abandon the game plan which got them this far.
"This team here feels we like the way our team concept is. We have a way we like to play ... but I also think at this time of the year I know everybody likes talking about adjustments," said Tortorella.
"But it simply comes down to a little bit of will and a mindset. Going into Saturday's game, I think we fall into both categories."
The Rangers were riding high after a 3-0 series-opening win on Monday but the Devils' 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday kept New York from grabbing their first two-game edge in the 2012 postseason.
Tortorella refused to call out individual players for his team's home loss, and said for the Rangers to be consistent it was more about playing as a team rather than relying on one player.
"As you go into the playoffs and you go into the momentum swings of winning a game and losing a game, it's not one individual guy," said Tortorella.
"Certainly in last night's game, it wasn't one individual guy that we end up on the wrong side of that. There are a number of things that we have to be better at as a team ... the Xs and Os and the mental part both come into our play come Saturday." (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)