Rangers coach John Tortorella doesn’t want to hear about it. He is trying to get this team to focus on the Sabres — on the first period specifically — and doesn’t want to talk about sixth spot or ninth or whatever is happening in the horse race.
But that’s a lot to ask considering that the Rangers have three home games coming up, with a 21-10-4 record on the Madison Square Garden ice. That’s decent, especially considering that Buffalo has a 14-16-5 away record.
The Rangers are in sixth place in the Eastern Division, a mere two points away from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, tied for fourth.
“We’re in a great position, we can get to fourth that’s what we’re shooting for,” backup goalie Steve Valiquette said. “If we can get to fourth then we can get home ice advantage.”
The Rangers worked on faceoffs today as the team prepares to host Buffalo. The lines were the same as yesterday’s practice and, given the chemistry they showed in the win over Montreal on Tuesday, it’s hard to imagine Tortorella breaks them up for tomorrow. Here’s the coach on faceoffs:
By the way, Tortorella would not comment on the fact that he is the winningest American-born coach in the NHL after the win in Montreal. With 245 wins, he moved ahead of Peter Laviolette. Nice little milestone, but he didn’t want to discuss it. Tortorella cut off a reporter’s question about it saying, “it’s not about me.”
Valiquette said newcomers Derek Morris, Nik Antropov and Sean Avery are fitting in:
Sean Avery said there was some initial confusion about the new system, something that Morris corroborated, but that everyone was getting it down now.
Finally, Antropov stayed out on the ice after practice to play goalie for his son at the practice facility. The 6-foot-6 Russian played the net on his knees while his 8-year-old son Daniel shot the puck. Awww, what a good dad. And you can look for him in the 2018 draft.
(Carpy suggested we put up head shots so you know who is writing a post, hence my blurry credential shot.)