On Friday, the day after the Rangers lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Capitals, New York head coach John Tortorella said he was generally pleased with the way his team had played, despite the 3-1 loss.
Today, prior to Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, and two days after the Rangers lost Game 2 — this time, it was a 1-0 overtime defeat — his message was similar.
“I think a big part of coaching is addressing your team and how they played, not what the result was,” said Tortorella, per The Star-Ledger.
“It’s a game of results, there is no question about that, but I can’t go about the process of coaching a hockey team on what the result was.”
Tortorella added: “Playoff series is momentums within the game. What if Rick Nash scores his goal in the third period there off the post, another inch? It changes.”
New York isn’t the only NHL city lamenting what-ifs.
What if Jannik Hansen hadn’t missed the empty net by inches in Game 2 of the Vancouver-San Jose series?
That’s the playoffs though. Look back at any Stanley Cup champion’s run and you’ll see a handful of what-ifs that went its way. A post here, a bounce there. There’s no rule saying luck has to even out over the course of a series.
But unlucky or not, the Rangers need a win tonight or they’re in big trouble.