Coach John Tortorella didn’t like the Montreal Canadiens’ play in their 3-1 victory over his New York Rangers, but he will grant them this much: They sucked less.
“I thought it was probably one of the worst hockey games I’ve ever been involved in,” Tortorella said in an ESPN report. “Both teams. But they were better than we were.”
The two teams didn’t manufacture many scoring chances early on, although that’s a given when squads combine for just eight shots on goal in the first period.
Montreal focused on waiting for and attempting to capitalize on errors in the Rangers’ transitions in a strategy that Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thought was “boring,” but “smart.”
In turn, the Rangers attempted to, in captain Ryan Callahan’s words, “be patient with it, get pucks in deep” and avoid turnovers. The Rangers ultimately fell short of that goal early in the third period, which resulted in 19-year-old forward Alex Galchenyuk netting the game-winning goal for Montreal.
“Just two bad teams playing and we were worse than they were,” Tortorella said in summary.
The Rangers were without Rick Nash and have been secretive with regards to his status. Who knows if he’ll play on Thursday, but either way, Tortorella will certainly be looking for more from his club.