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Rangers take lesson from Anaheim loss

Players know sharp mental focus will bring positive outcome in San Jose

Thursday, 03.10.2011 / 8:41 PM ET / News
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Rangers take lesson from Anaheim loss
VIDEO: Footage from Thursday's Practice
Ducks Get Bounces in Beating Rangers

By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

The Rangers were not pleased with their effort in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Ducks that started their two-game West Coast trip, and they carried that displeasure with them to San Jose after leaving Anaheim on Thursday.

After an intense 45-minute practice in San Jose, several players still expressed anger that their collective effort was not up to par the night before.

“It’s done and over with, but at the same time we have to make sure we have a different work ethic and desire to play next game,” said veteran forward Vinny Prospal. “We are the ones responsible for our play on the ice. We have to be better than last night. These games have a lot of meaning for us right now.”

Rangers forward Brian Boyle said that he and his teammates have vowed to be mentally prepared for the remaining games after failing to deliver the best possible effort in their late-season loss at Anaheim.
Prospal’s straightforward assessment, along with the intensity with which he spoke his words, was echoed by teammates who took a no-nonsense approach to Thursday’s practice -- one that featured many hard one-on-one battles as the Rangers worked on their defensive-zone play much of the time.

“That’s not us,” said Brian Boyle. “We are not a team that fails to come to work. But last night was not our best effort. And we have to make sure that mentally we do all the right things to prepare.”

While the Rangers were in fact victims of three Ducks goals that deflected in off of the Blueshirts, the players and their head coach were not buying into the belief that Wednesday’s defeat was a case of bad luck. After the game Rangers head coach John Tortorella dispelled any notion of that by saying that his club was not good in any one single facet of the contest.

A day later Tortorella said that it was imperative his team learn from Wednesday night’s game and move on to their important contest with the Sharks on Saturday.

“We played a bad game, and we haven’t had many of those this year at all,” said Tortorella after Thursday’s practice. “We need to make some corrections, and we need to bring some things to their attention, and then we play our next game.”

All 22 players on the current roster took part in practice, and Tortorella kept the lines intact. The head coach did not say if he plans to make any changes to his lineup on Saturday. Erik Christensen and Steve Eminger have been the healthy scratches the past two games since Marian Gaborik and Ryan McDonagh returned from injuries.