The Rangers lineup remains the same for tonight's opener from last night's 3-2 loss at Pittsburgh. That means Henrik Lundqvist in net and LW Sean Avery (sprained right knee) still in (dapper) street clothes. Avery skated on his own earlier today and likely will participate in tomorrow's practice.
The Rangers are also standing pat with six defensemen for now and Tortorella brushed aside a question about adding a seventh before the game.
But he was pretty interesting when clearing up what he considers the misconception that the Rangers will play run-and-gun hockey this season.
"I guess the biggest thing that we need to address tonight is puck support," Tortorella said. "If we're going to be aggressive as far as defending, try to jam the neutral zone, pinching in the end zone when we have the opportunities, we need to have support coming back. I think we lost ourselves a little bit there.
"I even heard one of our players say on a TV program before last night's game, run and gun. This isn't run and gun. This is pressure defense pressuring the puck. Defense first with support allowing us to be aggressive. It's not run and gun. These are things we have to curb and make our team understand because we gave up too many odd-man rushes."
Also to look for, the Rangers have won four straight home openers for the first time since 1989-92. The franchise has never won five straight openers.
Also to listen for: I'll be the second intermission guest on ESPN 1050. Swing on by and tune in.
Lines (to review):
Updates coming once the puck drops. Pre-game player introductions not expected to push back the 7:08 puck drop.
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STARTERS: Rangers: Staal-Girardi; Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik; Lundqvist. Senators: Phillips-Volchenkov; Michalek-Spezza-Alfredsson; Leclaire
Pre-Game entertainment: Love the Blue Man Group. If you get a chance to check out their off-Broadway show in the Village, go.
4:10 First period: Much better start for the Rangers than last night. They're playing stronger on the body, on the boards and doing a better job getting to the loose pucks.
6:00 First period: Shots 4-0 for the Rangers, though the Senators are gaining the zone with a little more frequency.
10:44 First period: First power play with Alex Kovalev off for hooking. Del Zotto-Kotalik, Gaborik-Prospal-Callahan
12:28 First period: Next up PP unit: Gilroy-Staal; Lisin-Dubinsky-Higgins. Good pressure/chances on the power play. Much like last night, need to convert.
16:09 First period: Another PP chance; Ottawa bench minor. They've got to convert at some point.
18:13 First period: Leclaire pretty lucky this period, though he did make one great kick save. Lundqvist sharp when he has to be, gloving Carkner's shot from the right.
First intermission: Wade Redden took Mike Fisher's stick to his face and had trouble regaining his skates with the Senators buzzing in the Rangers' end. Eight of the Rangers' 13 shots came on the power play. That can been in one of two ways. 1. Wasted opportunities or, 2. the fact that the Rangers are drawing penalties and have a much more active power play than last season. Since the cliche is beggar's can't be choosers, let's go with No. 2 for now. Just remember how it was last season, with nobody willing to shoot. Now with guys like Kotalik, Gilroy, and, most importantly, Gaborik, there are plenty of players willing to shoot. The goals should come, probably tonight. Also, a reminder, I'll be on ESPN during the second intermission.
Other thoughts: Forgot to mention but nice touch by the Rangers not being introduced individually but as a team. Also, Marian Gaborik played 8:39 in the first period after playing 24-plus last night. Tortorella said he uses his best players.
3:20 Second period: Vinny Prospal makes it 1-0 off a 2-on-1 with Gaborik, beating Leclaire over his shoulder to the far post from the right faceoff circle. But the play is really started by Henrik Lundqvist's strong save on Chris Phillips.
8:22 Second period: Great job by Lundqvist kicking out his left leg to stop Ryan Shannon off a turnover. Also, forgot to mention but Wade Redden back on the ice, no problems after being struck in face in first period.
9:00 Second period: Senators outshooting the Rangers, 13-1, this period. Of course, the Rangers made that one shot count.
10:00 Second period: Third shot of period yields second goal for the Rangers. Dubinsky comes up ice, over to his left and beats Leclaire over his shoulder to the far post.
10:54 Second period: PP unit: Staal-Gilroy, Higgins-Dubinsky-Lisin.
15:36 Second period: Matt Gilroy did the right thing chasing Jason Spezza into the corner. The question is, where was Marc Staal or any other defensive support for the rookie. Daniel Alfredsson skates untouched to the net.
19:09 Second period: Rookie Michael Del Zotto gets the first of what should be plenty of NHL goals with a shot through traffic from the blue line.
Second intermission: Heading to ESPN booth. Senators outshoot Rangers, 20-13, in the second period.
3:00 Third period: Do like the way Gaborik is always looking for a breakaway. You can't teach those instincts. Still, Senators, though unsuccessful on power play off Staal high-stick, are controlling neutral zone this period so far.
7:17 Third period: Tough tripping call on Higgins. Not much he could do.
17:36 Third period: Donald Brashear still isn't winning over the Garden faithful. His short (for him) bout with Matt Carkner ends with Carkner taking him down.