This is interesting. Usually, after a team comes back from a two-game deficit to advance to the next playoff round it's called momentum. If you do it with back-to-back shut out wins, you should get an extra dose of it, right? The Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals in the quarterfinals in a series turn-around that could be built upon easily.
So, what happened in the semifinals against the Bruins? Rangers coach John Tortorella blames… game seven?
"One of the things, and it falls on my shoulders, is our team's mindset going into another round," Rangers coach John Tortorella said Monday when the club packed up for the summer. "Both teams played an emotional Game 7. I don't think our mindset was ready to play another series and to the level you need to be at. It didn't have a playoff atmosphere."
Two things: one, that says something about how the Caps played, if the Rangers didn't approach that game with a playoff mindset and still won. Two, how does a team not enter a Game 7 with a playoff mindset, and how do they not build on that series comeback in the next round? Granted, the Bruins were riding high after their Game 7 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but you would think that two back-to-back shutouts would have helped the Rangers perform a little bit better in the second round.
Torts questions his ability to get them in the right mindset, especially his star players.
"It's an emotional thing," Tortorella said. "You win the last two games of a first-round series, you play an emotional Game 7, you win it, and within a couple of days you're playing another series. It's not a Game 7, it's a Game 1. I thought we did enough, but as I watched us play, it wasn't enough.
"The biggest part of my job is that and how you handle your top players to get them to play."
That's a very valid statement and it shows Tortorella's candor. He might clam up during press conferences when he's angry, but you can never call him anything but truthful. His top players didn't perform, and Brad Richards might wind up paying the price for the coach in the form of a buyout. A team with that much firepower shouldn't have wilted like they did in the second round. They all but rolled over for the Bruins, but that wasn't just on the stars. That was the whole team with the probable exception of Henrik Lundqvist. When you have a team pull that, the problem more than likely lies somewhere behind the bench.
Will the Rangers hold Torts accountable, or will Glen Sather continue to place the burden on the players?