Sometimes, the best lessons are the ones that are self-taught.
Following an uncharacteristically subpar performance in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, in which Dan Girardi was on the ice for all five goals in the Rangers’ 5-2 loss, head coach John Tortorella opted not to have a meeting with the top pair defenseman.
“I didn’t even talk to him,” Tortorella said in his Tuesday morning press conference at the Garden in the hours prior to Game 3. “He’s going to play his best game.”
Long one of the Rangers’ leaders, Girardi has earned Tortorella’s confidence with his play and reliability.
“It depends on the person,” Tortorella said. “It depends where he is as a player, experience-wise. I don’t have to say one word to Dan Girardi. If that’s a John Moore, certainly we will try to help him along the way - maybe show him so tape, whatever it may be.
“With [Girardi], he’s one of the better defensemen in the National Hockey League that had a tough night. He knows it. He doesn’t need to hear it from any coach at all as far as what needs to be done.”
No need to hold serve?
The popular thinking is that the Rangers need to win the next two games at home to get back into the series.
Unsurprisingly, Tortorella dismissed the notion.
“I’m looking at this as one game,” Tortorella said, when asked about the prospects of the Rangers coming back from an 0-2 deficit for the second straight series. “We just want to win a game and crawl back in to make it a series. So all of the stuff as far as the history and what we did the last time, we’re not paying attention to it.
“We made corrections [at Monday’s practice in Greenburgh, N.Y.]. We felt we played a pretty good hockey game [Sunday afternoon]. It certainly wasn’t a 5-2 game. We want to win a game and we’ll see where we go.”
Powe, Staal updates
Darroll Powe and Marc Staal were part of a group of players that participated in the optional skate at the Garden Tuesday morning. Both Powe and Staal have not played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Capitals.
As per organizational policy, the Rangers have not announced the reasons for their absence. Powe was elbowed in the head by Washington’s Joel Ward during Game 3 of that series when the Rangers center checked the Capitals right wing into the boards.
Staal has been sidelined with a potential reoccurrence of symptoms from the eye injury he suffered in the 4-2 win over the Flyers on March 5. The defenseman was struck near the eye by a Kimmo Timonen shot.
“Feel good. It’s good to be back on the ice, skating with the guys,” Powe said. “It’s a few days of skating. I felt pretty good. I’m just skating, working out and try to get back in the lineup. The goal is to get back as soon as I can.”
Staal was unavailable for comment.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.