- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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NEW YORK -- Count Rangers coach John Tortorella as one person who does not subscribe to the theory that a team that plays 14 games through the first two rounds can't win the Stanley Cup.
When asked about the daunting stat -- no team in the current playoff format has won the Cup after being extended to seven games in each of the first two rounds -- Tortorella brushed it off as nonsene.
"That's a bunch of crap," he said before the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night.
The Rangers advanced to the conference finals -- their longest playoff run in 15 years -- but had to win two Game 7s to get there. Surmounting a 3-2 series deficit, the Rangers knocked off the Senators in the deciding game at Madison Square Garden in the quarterfinals; they needed seven games to dispose of the seventh-seeded Capitals as well.
Those that have been there before, however, aren't too concerned with the statistical data pointing against them.
"I scored two goals in Game 7," he said, referring to his triumphant performance that clinched the Cup for the Lightning in the deciding game against the Calgary Flames eight years ago. "Did I score the last two goals (in the Rangers last pair of Game 7s)?
Rather than rely on statistics, Fedotenko bases his optimism on the mood around the team right now. Asked to assess the club's energy level and mental focus, he seemed satisfied.
"We have a good young team that is playing well and everyone is alert," he said. "If you're not alert right now, you're in the wrong business."
12dScott Burnside and Craig Custance