First the news, followed by quotes in a little bit:
Same lineup, unless one of the dinged-up guys (presumably Fedotenko, but not definitely) can’t play. As of now, John Tortorella expects everybody to play, and Newbury was brought up for “precautionary” reasons.
Another item, which has been mis-reported (and then re-mis-reported here). The Rangers still have non-injury recalls left. They can bring up a player from Connecticut at any time, without it being an injury emergency.
And finally, to repeat what Mitch Beck said, Newbury just played three games in three nights, so this would be his fourth in four. Which is inhumane. And Zuccarello, who had played on consecutive nights before his demotion, then played three in three nights in Connecticut … so this would be his sixth in six if he had been recalled. Yikes.
“Precautionary. Just, we’ve got some dings. So we just want to make sure. … (not planning on playing him).”
On the challenges of remaining positive and not worrying about what a mistake at his point could mean:
“We’re ready to play. We’re positive. We’re not looking anywhere but tonight’s game. The mindset of this hockey club is right where it needs to be.”
On where Drury is in his rehab (he skated again today):
“No idea. I have much more things to worry about than the injured guys right now.”
On Lundqvist’s play recently:
“Well, I think he has, at least for me since I’ve been here, I think this is the highest level he’s played at. I think the plan that we had with him as far as not grinding him through the year, Biron coming in, it’s been a huge part to why we have an opportunity to keep playing here, for where we want to go, is the play of Biron and getting (Lundqvist) out of the net from time to time. And I just think he has decided he wants to put the team on his shoulders and he just has got the fight in him. It’s probably the highest level I’ve seen him play at, since I’ve been here.
On the tail-off of the Rangers’ success in the second of back-to-backs, which was spectacular earlier in the season:
“I have no idea (if it’s normal).
Has he noticed it’s tailed off?
“No. I know we haven’t won, but I haven’t noticed … I can’t even remember them, all the games. But right now, we’re in the playoffs right now. This is what it is. So back to back, that doesn’t even come into our thinking.
“You can’t be tired. At this point in the season, you can’t be tired. And to me, I think as a group—as writers, as people, I think we talk players into being tired. I think you can will yourself to get through, and I think you can will yourself to be tired. We’re ready to play.”
On Lundqvist playing all of them since the Biron injury, and whether he would have anyway:
“I think Marty probably would have gotten a couple more along the way. Again, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. But when Marty went down, we were at a number that we talked about as far as what (Lundqvist) was going to play. We were satisfied. Listen, Marty did some good things for us. He not only played, but the backup has to win. And he won some important games for us along the way. So we were comfortable at that point in time that Henrik would be able to carry the load. I think Henrik has shown, and again, he’s grown there as far as mental toughness as far as I’m concerned. I think he’s really grown, and continues.”
On playing at home, and improving at home:
“We’re fighting and we’re not out, so we’re where we want to be. It doesn’t matter where we’re playing. We have an opportunity to get where we want to be, so yeah. Would we like to be clinched with 17 games over .500? Yeah. We’re not, but we’re in a good spot here. I thought we showed a very good quiet confidence about ourselves in how we approached, after the Islander game, how we approached our business, and I thought grinded our way through a pretty tough game, a pretty emotional game yesterday to find a way to win. So we’re ready to play.”
On whether he needs to play more players more minutes because of fatigue tonight:
“No. I need to get more people involved along the way, but having said that, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I don’t go in with a blueprint of a game and say, ‘I’m going to get this guy 15, this guy 15, that guy …’ It depends on situations. It depends on penalties, all sorts of things that run into it. But I believe, as I start the game, I want to try to get everybody involved and we’ll make our decisions from there.”
Same lineup, same lines, “probably.”
On the how the young players have reacted down the stretch:
“They’ve reacted very well. This is a great experience for them. Not only for now, but for the future as we continue to build the team. So, we’ve gone through adversity all year long with some of the injuries we’ve gone through, guys put in spots we weren’t sure of even having them there. But I think our team has responded, right from our back end right on through. This is what our team is. Our team is built on youth. And we’re very comfortable as far as how we approach this next week.”
On Gaborik’s play recently:
“He’s moving his legs. He’s moving his legs. I think we need to get some goals out of him hopefully, but he defended pretty well yesterday away from the puck, his legs are beginning to move more consistently. If that keeps growing I think he’ll help us along the way.”
On how the team found its game after the Buffalo and Islanders games:
“Again, listen, we stunk on the Island. We haven’t stunk much this year. We haven’t gone away from who we are that much this year. I think our players know they need to be who they are and do it on the ice for us to have any chance. I feel very comfortable that these guys will be ready to play, and play the right way.”
On whether the team has a mindset of, ‘Win and you’re in’ no matter what the other teams do:
“We’re not looking by … we’re taking each day at a time. We’ve talked about this for a number of weeks now as far as it’s ramped up here and where we’re at in the standings. So, I know they look at the standings. I can sit here and tell you I don’t, but I do. But you need to take it one day at a time, and that’s what we’re trying to do. So we’re just concerned about this game. It’s going to be a tough game. This is a really good hockey club and this is going to be a tough game for us, but I think we’ll be ready to play.”
Asked who would have been the third guy in the shootout (and remember, the coach has to submit his three-man lineup beforehand, if I’m not mistaken):
“I have no idea.”
On Girardi and Staal playing so many minutes yesterday, and if there’s a concern about that:
“No. It depends on how the game goes. They’ve been up about those minutes most of the year. Yesterday there was quite a bit. I think there was probably three or four (more) minutes. But I think guys, at this time of year, because we consider this playoffs, want to be on the ice. I thought they played very well. Danny just did a great job blocking shots, doing a lot of little things. Marc fought through some things early on and then got his game going. I just think the enthusiasm and what this is about and what it’s for overrides all that stuff. Again, I’m just not a big believer, especially at this time of year, in players being tired. I think that can be overcome by a mindset.”