The theme that emanated from all corners of the Rangers’ dressing room after Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss in Game 2 was that they were outworked by the Devils.
John Tortorella echoed his players’ premise during a conference call Thursday afternoon.
“To be honest, not many,” Tortorella said when asked about positives from the game. “We played some minutes in the second period, [and] found a way to score some power-play goals. But other than that, we didn’t play enough minutes.”
Even though the official stat sheet shows that the Rangers threw more hits (39-34) and blocked more shots (16-7), it was the Devils who were the aggressor throughout Game 2. The Rangers spent the majority of the evening chasing the puck instead of playing with it.
“We just didn’t do [enough] for a number of minutes in that game, and that’s something that needs to be rectified.
“We have a way we like to play. I think there are some corrections in our game we have to make. But it simply comes down to a little bit of will and a mindset,” Tortorella said.
Gaborik sat down
When asked about sitting Marian Gaborik for much of the third period Wednesday night, Tortorella would not delve into specifics.
Gaborik only played 3:07 in the final period of Game 2. He totaled 15:21 of ice time with two shots on goal and made a poor defensive play on Ryan Carter’s game-tying goal.
“I'm not going to get into individual players,” Tortorella said. “I think as you go into playoffs and you go into the momentum swings of winning a game and losing a game, it's not one individual guy. Certainly in last night's game, it wasn't one individual guy that we end up on the wrong side of that [score]. 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.”
Crossing the Hudson
Historically, Blueshirts fans have invaded the Prudential Center and, before that, the Meadowlands for Rangers-Devils games. As the Devils prepare to host Games 3 and 4, Devils captain Zach Parise and head coach Pete DeBoer hope the Prudential Center can rival Madison Square Garden as a true home-ice advantage.
“It’s always nice playing in your own building,” DeBoer said. “The crowd can always breathe some life into your team. I thought [the Garden] did with the Rangers in the third period [of Game 1]. I thought when they scored that goal in the third period the crowd got them into it, and I thought really gave them an extra gear.
“The trick is to make sure you give your crowd something to be involved in and make sure the other team doesn't control the play or dictate the game,” DeBoer said.
Added Parise: “During the regular season, if we were to get scored on, then you see them all cheering, and I think they cheer extra loud when they’re in our building. That’s when you realize how many Ranger fans we have in our building. But hopefully there won’t be too many blue jerseys in the stands for these two home games.”
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Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.