NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are down 0-2 and they've scored one goal in the series -- a goal that went in off the skate of a Washington Capitals' defenseman -- and yet John Tortorella says the series is close.
"I think they [Games 1 and 2] have been a hell of a lot more even than a lot of other people think," Tortorella said Monday morning from Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers will try to win Game 3 against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2). "It really doesn't matter. We need to win a game."
Tortorella pointed to Rick Nash hitting the post with 3:44 left in regulation of Game 2 as a difference in the series.
"Another inch," he said.
He said the Rangers are one penalty kill or perhaps even one shot block away from at least being even against Washington.
"I think a big part of coaching is addressing your team on how they played, not what the result was," Tortorella said. "It's a game of results, there is no question about that, but I can't go about the process of coaching a hockey team on what the result was."
That's all well and good, but the evaluation -- positive or negative -- doesn't matter unless the Rangers score some goals. They haven't beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby since Carl Hagelin put his wraparound in off of John Erskine's skate with 3:16 left in the first period of Game 1.
Holtby carries a shutout streak 111 minutes and 16 seconds into Game 3. New York didn't get a shot on goal over the final 17:43 of Game 2 despite having a pair of power plays during that span.
The Rangers tested Holtby with 36 shots on goal in Game 1, but that number dipped to 24 in Game 2 despite the extra eight minutes they played in overtime. Holtby said the game wasn't very straining on him, a compliment for his defense but also an unintentional criticism of the Rangers, who are also 0-for-7 with 10 shots on goal on the power play.
"We can obviously elevate our game a little bit," Rangers forward Brian Boyle said. "I don't think we've played terribly, but it doesn't really matter now. It is 2-0, we're down and we've got to claw our way into it."
Tortorella has no doubt that the Rangers can do just that Monday at Madison Square Garden.
"I think we're close. I will put it to you that way," he said. "It means squat if you don't win."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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