Roles reversed in East final

Rangers head coach John Tortorella instructs his team during Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference...

Rangers head coach John Tortorella instructs his team during Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference final against the Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., May 19, 2012. (BILL KOSTROUN/Reuters)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:38 PM ET

NEWARK - When the New York Rangers crossed the Hudson River into New Jersey on Saturday, some roles were suddenly reversed.

Rangers coach John Tortorella became the accommodating, quotable man he used to be in post-game settings, while Devils boss Peter DeBoer was the one getting a little snippy.

Devils captain Zach Parise wasn’t talking at all, as his team took a wrong turn in their 3-0 loss that put them behind 2-1 in the Eastern Conference final.

Parise was either ticked at the final score, his minus-2, getting out-played by opposing captain Ryan Callahan or still angry at a story his father gave to New York Newsday on Friday about his future as an unrestricted free agent.

J.P. Parise, the former NHLer who admits to being too talkative sometimes, hinted Zach was quite fond of Tortorella, who coached him on the 2010 U.S. Olympic team, and that his boy would a good fit if he changed teams.

“I don’t know anything about that,” DeBoer said when asked why his captain would not be accountable after the game. “But if he did (clam up), he’s got good reason.”

DeBoer cut that line of questioning short, but did get off his chest that he felt Brandon Prust’s elbow on New Jersey defenceman Anton Volchenkov was “head hunting, plain and simple.” DeBoer was animated when referees Kevin Pollock and Brad Watson let the hit slide in an otherwise tame game, with one roughing call at the buzzer.

League judge Brendan Shanahan will review the Prust elbow.

Tortorella, meanwhile, raised his batting average from less than 10 words on six different questions following Game 2. He spoke of goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s huge role in the identity of the team, how star Brad Richards had overcome “growing pains” to rise to the occasion this spring, that it was “killing” Callahan not to be scoring more on the conference final stage and tried to spare the feelings of Game 2 goat Stu Bickel when he replaced him with Steve Eminger.

Tortorella was also honest that he still knows next to nothing about rookie Chris Kreider, who has scored five playoff goals to date without ever playing a regular season game. The big win on enemy ice likely had something to do with the coach’s better mood.

“We still have things to improve on,” Tortorella said. “We know who we are, we know how we have to play. We’re trying to do that more consistently. And that’s how we’ll go about it. It’s no secret.”

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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