Rangers Notebook: Stanley Cup schedule, Rangers 'pray' for scoring - Metro US

Rangers Notebook: Stanley Cup schedule, Rangers ‘pray’ for scoring

It is still to be determined whether the Rangers or Devils will represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup finals.

What is known is when the championship round games will begin.

The NHL announced the schedule for the Stanley Cup finals Tuesday afternoon. Game 1 is next Wednesday at either Madison Square Garden or the Prudential Center due to the Rangers and Devils finishing the regular season with higher point totals than the Los Angeles Kings or Phoenix Coyotes.

All games will start at 8 p.m. NBC will air Games 1 and 2, and, if necessary, 5, 6 and 7. NBC Sports Network will broadcast Games 3 and 4.

The Kings lead the Coyotes, 3-1, in the Western Conference Final. Game 5 was Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Tortorella ‘prays’ for offense

The Rangers have marginally outscored the Devils, 9-7, through the first four games. Five of the Rangers’ goals have come from forwards, led by Chris Kreider (three goals), while Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan and Ruslan Fedotenko have solved Martin Brodeur once.

The Rangers’ top-six forwards are going to need to contribute offensively for the franchise to advance to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 18 years. Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin do not have a point, while Brad Richards has no goals but three assists in the series.

“Pray,” John Tortorella said when asked what could be done about the top-six forwards’ lack of production. “I don’t know what else to tell you. We’re going to keep on trying to play, pray, and hopefully something good happens to them.”

The Devils’ forecheck has been problematic for the Rangers, who have spent much of the series in their end of the ice.

“We don’t have the puck enough. Jersey has [had] the puck a lot more minutes than we do. I think that’s something we need to try to change,” Tortorella said. “It’s getting out of your end clean. It’s holding on to pucks in their end when they have opportunities. It comes just within your play. So there’s no one particular thing. But it has been a series so far of them having the puck a lot more than we have. And that’s what we’re going to try to change.

“I think it’s tactical, execution [and] willingness,” Tortorella said. “All sorts of things come into play as far as territory and puck possession. It’s just a simple fact. We need to get better at it.”

Injuries progressing

Tortorella said that both Brandon Dubinsky and Mats Zuccarello participated in the Rangers’ brief practice at the Garden on Tuesday. He said he had “no update” on the forwards’ availability as he had not spoken with head trainer Jim Ramsay.

The coach was pleased with his team’s mindset at practice.

“I think our meetings were good today. I think our practice had some jump. I just like watching the attitude of players. I think they’re looking forward to playing their next game, as all of [the players] are this time of year. They don’t want to spend too much time waiting around. They want to play. I felt we had a really good day today,” Tortorella said. He also noted that there was not a video review session of what transpired in Game 4.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.

More from our Sister Sites