— The Rangers have been down two games to none before. Heck, the last time it happened was only two weeks ago.
Before Game 3 of the opening series against the Washington Capitals, coach John Tortorella jabbed reporters for having their heads buried in their computers, missing what really was happening on the ice.
After the Bruins spanked the Rangers 5-2 Sunday afternoon, well, Tortorella probably should be worried that the reporters who cover his team are watching the ice too closely. That's because there are some things that should worry the hell out of him.
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"We're close, put it to you that way," Tortorella had said after losing to the Caps 3-1 and 1-0 in overtime at Verizon Center. "The teams have been a hell of a lot more even than a lot of other people think."
Torts' words were prophetic. The teams remained hair-follicle close until the seventh game, when the Rangers blew the doors off the Caps.
Yet here's the thing. After these two games in Boston, the hard question now has to be: Are the teams growing further apart?
Are the Rangers in serious trouble of being blown out of this series by a hungrier team?
"The latter part of the first and second periods, that's the way we have to play," Tortorella said Sunday. "And I think we can. I think we can sustain that."
When it comes to perseverance, the Rangers certainly have sustained their horrendous power play for weeks now.
"Our power play was better today," Tortorella said. "It didn't score. But it was better."
At the risk of being accused of having my head stuck in my computer, the Rangers were 0-for-5 with the man advantage. They're 0-for-8 in the series and 2-for-36 in the playoffs. When you're cranking away at 5.6 percent, the temptation would be to say the power play stinks. But Tortorella already used that word to describe Carl Hagelin in explaining how he doesn't use the swift winger with the man advantage.
"I don't know why," Tortorella had said on Saturday. "I wish I could play him on the power play. Every time I put him on, he stinks.
"I think he's too quick. I think he's a jitterbug and he screws it up. I can't figure him out. He does everything else well. I love the guy, as I've told the guys who cover the team, he's such an effective player."
In fact, Torts used "stink" six times. If Hagelin stinks, where does that leave the guys who do play on the power play?
Hagelin, who had been averaging a measly 13 seconds a game on the power play, did get on the ice for 46 Sunday. But Brad Richards, who has been an embarrassing shell of himself, was out there for 4:23 and the other regulars were on the ice essentially for 6:15 of the total 9:12 with the man advantage.
The Rangers, employing their umbrella style, had seven total shots and no goals. Let's be candid: The Rangers may scratch out a seven-game series against the Caps with no power play, but it's not happening against the hungrier Bruins.
"It's frustrating," Rick Nash said. "We watched all the video. We got all the game plan. It's on the guys out there to execute."
Nash finally got untracked even strength, got behind Zdeno Chara and scored his first goal in nine playoff games. When Nash is hot, the Bruins don't have one goal scorer of his ilk. They do have more balanced lines and now their defense is scoring up a storm.
"We had a lot of chances to crawl back in and didn't finish around the net," Nash said. "When we had a breakdown, it ended up in the back of our net. When they did, we couldn't finish them."
The Rangers ranked No. 18 in the NHL at 15.7 percent in both of the past two regular seasons, so we've had a pretty good statistical handle on their problems. The hideousness of this spring, however, is head-crushing. Maybe it's the trade of Marian Gaborik. Maybe it's Nash. Surely, it has to do with Richards. It's sad watching him play right now. Tortorella loves him. They won a Stanley Cup together in Tampa in 2004. But he has been forced to demote him to the fourth line 5-on-5, giving him less even-strength time than anybody. This is a guy who signed a whopping $60 million contract. His demotion has been called the hockey version of dropping A-Rod to eighth in the order in the postseason. To Torts, it probably feels more like dropping Derek Jeter.
After this game, Tortorella didn't want to talk about the power play and certainly not about his goalie. He wanted to focus on some lousy coverage. The Rangers have had trouble handling the Bruins' rush. And certainly defenseman Dan Girardi had a horrible day. He finished minus-4. Girardi lost Brad Marchand on the backbreaking fourth goal 26 seconds into the third period and was on for all five Boston scores.
"On that fourth goal," Girardi said. "I've either got to take that pass away or the guy."
"The third and fourth goals were defendable; we made coverage mistakes," said Tortorella, although the big problem to me was Patrice Bergeron's screen set in front of Henrik Lundqvist. "Our second period is where we want to be. We can't put it in the net. We had multiple chances. We felt really good going into the third and to have that type of goal go in on a 2-on-2, it hurts you."
Tortorella had been mysterious Saturday in saying he was making some adjustments away from the ice. He said he would explain later in the series but not yet. He did Sunday say the adjustments had nothing to do with poor defensive coverage.
There have been some baffling things so far. After two games, who would have guessed that Torey Krug would have two goals? Heck, who would have guessed that he would have played both games? And who would have thought that three rookie Boston defensemen would have played such a large role?
Still, here's the one that baffles me. I didn't have Tuukka Rask outplaying Lundqvist. No way. No how. But the best goaltender in the NHL hasn't been the better goalie in this series so far. In allowing five goals on 32 shots, King Henrik was demoted to prince until further notice. It was the first time he'd given up five goals in a playoff games since 2009 against the Caps.
"I don't need to evaluate Henrik," Tortorella said. "We know what Henrik is."
"We gave it to them today," said Lundqvist, who also was dealing with a shot he took off the left shoulder by Daniel Paille in the third period.
In NHL history, teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead have gone on to win 88 percent of the time. These Rangers, of course, are among the other 12 percent. They also are 3-0 in the playoffs at home.
"We've done it before," Lundqvist said, "but I think we are playing a better team now. So it's going to be tough to do it."
"There is no give in this team," Tortorella said, defiantly. "There will be no give in this team."
That may be so.
But now we've got to wonder if there's enough take.