A day after the Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, to force a Game 7 Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, head coach John Tortorella held a brief conference call with reporters. Here's what he had to say, courtesy of Rangers Rants.
Tortorella had no comment for either the Milan Michalek kick to Dan Girardi, which went unpenalized by the NHL, nor did he lend a thought to Chris Neil for issuing a threat to Michael Del Zotto for his blind-side hit in Game 6. Neil said he'd catch Del Zotto with his head down soon enough.
On Derek Stepan, who had a goal and two assists in Game 6: "Step has raised his level the past couple of nights, and our player, Chris [Kreider], has joined us, and come in here and played pretty well. Nothing fazes him. He's played pretty well."
Speaking of Kreider, Tortorella said he 20-year-old winger has been a positive off the ice, especially after stepping into such a high-pressured situation. "I just don't think much fazes the guy and the mental mindset part of it," he said. "That's what's really interesting. I'm very impressed in the short term with him, I'm really impressed with that."
Tortorella said there was nothing behind this being the first Game 7 at Madison Square Garden in almost 18 years, when in 1994, the Rangers defeated both the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks to capture the team's first Stanley Cup — and only since then — since 1940. "We're going into a Game 7 with the opportunity to win the hockey game based on our game last night," Tortorella said. "That's all we're concerned about."
The head coach said his team has been able to respond all year long, and Game 6 was no different. "We just have not found a way to make a big play at a key time, a big offensive play especially at a key time. Last night, in the second period, we did," he said. "This group of guys, they have just gone about their business and that's the way we'll approach Game 7."
Game 6, according to MSG Network, scored a 4.27 Nielsen household rating, the highest since May 6, 1997, when the Rangers played the Devils in the Eastern Conference Semis. That game did a 5.01. The game was the highest rated program in New York on Monday night, peaking with a 5.99 quarter-hour rating between 9:30 and 9:45.
Great to hear praise for Kreider from Tortorella. The kid is going to be a star. Just so poised and so sure of himself on the ice, even after just four games. The kid just believes in himself.
Not sure about Stepan playing better over the last couple games, but he really came up big in Game 6.
Nice to see the Rangers doing so well in the ratings. It's funny, though, that either Game 3 or Game 4 was bumped from MSG to MSG+ in favor of the Knicks taking on the Nets. I guess you have to pick your battles.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia