No big speech from Tortorella

Rangers head coach John Tortorella says the playoffs a time to get behind your players and not go...

Rangers head coach John Tortorella says the playoffs a time to get behind your players and not go after them. (Reuters file photo)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:40 PM ET

NEW YORK - If there is any high-volume ranting to be done by John Tortorella on Wednesday, the New York Rangers head coach will save it for behind the bench.

With the Eastern Conference final between the Rangers and New Jersey Devils tied 2-2 heading into tonight’s Game 5 here at Madison Square Garden, Tortorella won't hit his players with an impassioned speech.

He may quietly emphasize a strong start to stifle the momentum the Devils like to use to their advantage, but that's about it.

“This isn't the time of year, it's not sending messages it's not going in there and giving your big speech,” Tortorella said following a brief morning skate. “I have too much respect for the hockey club. This team wouldn't be where it's at if they didn't know how to handle those situations. This time of year a coach needs to be with ’em not at them.

“I have total confidence in our players. This isn't a new experience for us as we go into tonight's game.

It's a great opportunity and we’re looking forward to it.”

For the Devils, so far the series has been as simple as they score and they win.

Both New York victories were 3-0 shutouts in Games 1 and 3. In Game 4, the Devils seemed to have much more energy than the Rangers, whose first two playoff series went the seven-game distance.

Not that it has been easy for New Jersey, the upstart No. 6 seed. When the Devils scored an empty-netter late in Game 4, it marked the first time the Rangers had allowed more than three goals through their 17 playoff games this spring.

With the East final reduced to a best-of-three series, the Rangers will no doubt be banking on the support of the Broadway faithful. The Blueshirts have won all seven previous playoff series in which they've held home-ice advantage, including the 1994 Conference final against the Devils and against the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers this spring.

“Its the Conference final, there’s just three teams left in the whole league and the series is tied 2-2” Rangers centre Brian Boyle said. “they will be a challenge for sure, but we see this as a great opportunity.”

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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