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Young Rangers get passing grade from Tortorella

Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 3:26 PM

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2011 ECQF: Washington-New York Live Blog

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2011 ECQF: Washington-New York Live Blog
Young Rangers get passing grade from Tortorella
Eight Rangers got their first taste of postseason hockey Wednesday, and without going through each individual player to break down their performance, John Tortorella said he liked what he saw from his young guys.

"Overall, the young guys, I was happy," Tortorella said. "Some guys in certain parts of the game, you could see there was some anxiousness, but that's to be expected. This is why we are happy that we're in. This gets some of the young group some experience. They'll be better the next game. They're going to have to be, because they're a big part of our club. A big part of our success is our youth."

A few of the highlights for players making their debuts included: All-Star Derek Stepan was on the ice for Alex Ovechkin's tying goal and lost his stick on the play, but his 25:07 was third-most among Rangers forwards.

Lineup change? -- Tortorella isn't about to give away lineup information during the postseason, but it's possible Mats Zuccarello could be a scratch for Game 2.

He played just 7:34 during Game 1 and was sharing time on a line with Sean Avery during Thursday's practice.

These are obviously subject to change, but these were the line combinations at Verizon Center this afternoon:

Gaborik-Christensen-Prospal
Dubinsky-Stepan-Fedotenko
Wolski-Boyle-Prust
Drury-Anisimov-Avery/Zuccarello

Avery was a healthy scratch quite a bit down the stretch, but Tortorella may want to change things up after a Game 1 loss.

Defending well -- While a couple of the offensive lines were shuffled a bit, don't expect to see much changed in terms of line combinations on the blue line.

Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer played the bulk of the minutes, but Bryan McCabe was acquired at the trade deadline of his power-play talents and Matt Gilroy scored the Rangers' lone goal. Overall, Tortorella was pleased with his club's overall play defensively.

"I thought for a lot of the game, our defending wasn't bad," Tortorella said. "I wouldn't say it was great. We're going to have to be better. I thought our best period was our third period. I thought we were playing our best hockey with the lead.

"I thought for good portions of the game, it was good. But it's going to have to be better as the series keeps on going."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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