- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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It's not easy to get out of John Tortorella's doghouse.
Just ask Chris Kreider and Marian Gaborik.
Kreider made early mistakes in the Game 4 loss to Washington in the semifinals and found himself on the bench for nearly the rest of the game. Gaborik was benched for most of the third period in Wednesday night's loss to the Devils after a costly error.
To Tortorella, it's doing what needs to be done to win.
"I think you're trying to put players in situations that are going to try to help you win games or help you in certain situations and momentum swings," Tortorella said on a conference call Thursday. "Some guys, when you don’t think it's working, they don't see the ice or they don’t get the minutes.
"Those are decisions we make every games. You guys like calling them benchings and all that stuff and as coaches we are trying to find a way to win hockey games and we make decisions accordingly."
Gaborik barely played in the third period of Wednesday night's 3-2 loss after his failure to clear the puck resulted in New Jersey's tying goal in the second period. Tortorella didn't discuss Gaborik's benching (or anything else) after the game.
When Tortorella was asked whether Gaborik needs to execute more or of it's an issue of will, the coach opted not to discuss his player, but made it clear he's not pinning the loss on Gaborik.
"As you go into playoffs and these momentum swings and losing a game, it's not one individual guy," Tortorella said. "Certainly in last night's game, it wasn't one individual guy that we end up on the wrong side of that. There are a number of things we have to be better at as a team."
DID THE SUN COME UP?: The Rangers' coaching staff has not had an easy time finding any positives from Game 2.
"To be honest with you, not many," Tortorella said. "I thought we played some minutes in the second period, found a way to score a couple of power-play goals, but other than that we didn't play enough minutes."
Tortorella said the Rangers did not play the way they usually play for stretches, and it needs to be rectified. He believes it falls on both the coaches and the players.
"There are some corrections in our game we have to make," Tortorella said. "But I also think at this time of year everybody likes talking about adjustments, but it simply comes down to a little bit of will and a mindset."
BIG PLAYS: While the Rangers haven't had one player carry them offensively in the playoffs, Tortorella doesn't believe the team needs that to get on a hot streak.
"You're looking for big plays at key times," Tortorella said. "We have found our way. I think one of the most important ingredients to be consistent and to play at this time of the year is to play as a team and not have one specific guy be the guy. Having that said, you certainly want big plays at key time. I think that's what determines a lot of the winning and losing."
It's not easy to get out of John Tortorella's doghouse.Just ask Chris Kreider and Marian Gaborik.Kreider made early mistakes in the Game 4 loss to Washington in the semifinals and found himself on the bench for nearly the rest of the game.