WASHINGTON -- Rangers coach John Tortorella has never been one to talk about the opposition, be it in the regular season or the playoffs. His mantra is the focus remains on what's happening in his locker room, not his opponents'.
As the No. 8 seed in this series with the Caps, the Rangers are unquestionably the underdogs. But Tortorella made sure to let everyone know about his team's mindset entering the Wednesday's Game 1 at Verizon Center.
"We respect this hockey club," Tortorella said. "By no means do we fear them."
And why would they? The Rangers won the season series 3-1 and delivered thumpings of 6-0 and 7-0 along the way. Of course, Tortorella said none of that matters now.
"Doesn't matter," Tortorella said. "I'm just going to talk about our club. I think that's the most important thing. The way we're trying to go about our business is just take care of our business each and every day. Washington's gone through their process, we're going to go through our process and that's our main concentration."
The Rangers have had their share of woes at Madison Square Garden the past two seasons, but they've been solid on the road. They finished tied for the ninth-most road points this season at 49, but of course, none of that matters to Tortorella.
"We don't care where we're playing. We're good," Tortorella said. "We're good with our mindest, we're good in our skin. We're just going to play. We need to play. We're ready to play. The road, away, we have an understanding how we're going to play, what's expected out of the opposing team, and now, we'll let the players play.
"There's not going to be a bunch of changes from this hockey club. We know who we are, and we're going to try to be who we are. I think that's the most important thing."
The biggest part for us is that it's a home game. We know how special the fans here are and how much the fan base has grown in the last decade, and how passionate they are. I don't think a lot of people around the hockey world know that or appreciate that yet, and I think that it's great that this city is getting recognition for how passionate they are about hockey.
— Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic