The mood was calm and confident in the Rangers dressing room following the team's optional morning skate Tuesday at The Garden. Though they would have preferred not to, the Rangers have been in this position before--trailing a best-of-seven playoff series 2-0 and returning home in need of a victory. They rallied and succeeded in their opening round series against the Washington Capitals when faced with this exact situation, and now they look for a repeat performance in Round Two against the Bruins.
But for the Blueshirts, it all starts with one game. Tonight on home ice against Boston.
"I'm not even looking at this as a series," explained head coach John Tortorella Tuesday morning. "I'm looking at this as one game. We just want to win a game, and to crawl back in to make it a series."
The Rangers are 3-0 at Madison Square Garden during this post-season, after putting together a 16-6-2 mark on home ice during the regular season. They have not lost on Garden ice since March 24th against the Capitals, winning nine in a row while bridging the regular season and the playoffs.
"I think anytime we play at home we feed off the crowd," stated rookie winger Chris Kreider. "They give us that extra support. The most important thing is having that crowd behind us, backing us. We really feed off that."
The Bruins were 12-9-3 on the road this past season, though they did lost their final three regular-season away contests, and five of their last seven. In their opening round series against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins won two of three in Toronto---snagging Games Three and Four before failing to close the Leafs out in Game Six. Boston outscored Toronto 9-5 in their two road victories in Round One.
Whether the game is played at home or on the road, the Rangers want to sustain the good things they did on Sunday in the second game of this series. The Rangers believed they carried play through the second period, but did not sustain their solid play for all 60 minutes.
"I thought we forced turnovers; i thought we held on to pucks; we just forechecked better," Tortorella said of Sunday's second period. "Just territorially I thought we played better. Hopefully we can sustain that for more minutes tonight."
As for the confidence of the team, neither the coach nor his players seem any less sure of themselves despite losing the first two games up in Boston.
"We have to stay positive and take it one game at a time, even though I know that's a boring answer," Mats Zuccarello said following the morning skate. "If we win today we are back in the series, it's 2-1. This is a series I think will be a long one. Nothing is done yet. We have two games here at Madison Square Garden and we're going to do everything in our power to win those games."