Tortorella: 'It falls on me'

"It's a big part of my job to get your top players to play consistently, and I couldn't do that," John Tortorella said on Saturday night. Michael Ivins/USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON -- For as much as John Tortorella’s postgame news conferences have become a bit of a caricature -- often marked by his abrasive, confrontational and sometimes boorish demeanor -- he was sincere in claiming responsibility after his team’s season-ending defeat.

Following the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to the Bruins in Game 5, Tortorella offered up a lot of reasons the team struggled, both during the game, the series and the entire lockout-shortened season. But he put the onus squarely on himself, too.

One of the Rangers’ most glaring deficiencies was the underwhelming performances by some of the team’s top players. He placed the blame on himself.

"I think one of the big things in this series is I could not -- and it does, it falls on me -- it’s a big part of my job to get your top players to play consistently, and I couldn’t do that," Tortorella said.

The most obvious inability to make that happen came with struggling center Brad Richards, who won a Stanley Cup under Tortorella in 2004 while with the Tamps Bay Lightning.

Richards’ play deteriorated to such a degree that he was demoted to the fourth line then ultimately scratched for the last two games.

But, he was not alone in failing to step up.

Joining the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner in a disappointing playoff performance was newcomer Rick Nash, who notched only one goal in his first postseason as a New York Ranger.

The premier winger, acquired in a blockbuster trade with Columbus this past summer, was ineffective in both the team’s series against Washington and Boston.

The 28-year-old Nash was limited to just five points in 12 games and he didn’t score his first goal of the 2013 playoffs until Game 3 of Round 2. In Game 5 on Saturday, he didn’t get a shot on goal until the third period. Nash didn't even respond when Boston's Milan Lucic tried to bully him with a brutish few shoves to the chest; he just skated away with no response.

"It’s heartbreaking," Nash said in a brief postgame interview. "We have a good team, good season, and we just couldn’t get the job done."

Though he battled through a lingering wrist issue since midseason, he insisted he wasn’t dealing with an injury.

He clearly was one of those players Tortorella couldn’t get enough from.

"We tried, and so I need to take some responsibility and try to get them in those spots to help us here. I thought that hurt us a little bit," Tortorella said.

Even captain Ryan Callahan wasn’t the same type of tone-setting sparkplug or offensive catalyst his team has come to expect, though he had two goals during the playoffs.

Callahan had one of the best scoring opportunities of the game for the Rangers, but his backhanded breakaway attempt went wide.

"It sucks," Callahan said. "There’s no worse feeling than this. We had a good team this year. It’s frustrating."