(Gary Cameron/Reuters)


The Washington Capitals might have a 2-0 lead in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, but Rangers Coach John Tortorella doesn’t see much disparity between the two teams.

While Tortorella didn’t want to dissect what he liked about his team’s play in the first two games — New York lost by two goals in Game 1 and then failed to record a shot in the final 17:43 of  Game 2 – he made it clear he believes the Rangers are still in this series.

“I think we’re close, I’ll put it to you that way. But it means squat if you don’t win,” Tortorella said Monday morning.

“I think [the games have] been a hell of a lot more even than a lot of other people think,” Tortorella said. “But it really doesn’t matter. We need to win a game. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the other two, we need to win a game and that’s all we’re thinking about.”

As the Rangers try to make a mark on home ice at Madison Square Garden on Monday night in Game 3, Washington will be looking to make history. The Capitals have never led a best-of-seven series 3-0; they’ve gone up 2-0 six times in franchise history but each time they lost Game 3. (s/t TSN Research)

Coach Adam Oates isn’t concerned about how the Rangers or Tortorella view the matchup, though.

“Doesn’t matter,” Oates said. “It’s 2-0, so I don’t know how that’s even. Both games were good games, maybe he means by that and it could’ve gone either way. The margin of error was very small. I would agree with that.”

Told of Tortorella’s comments, veteran center Mike Ribeiro said the Capitals are focused only on the challenge of the next game.

“That’s his vision of the game. For me, it’s a new game today,” Ribeiro said. “You want to forget those two games and really focus on this one tonight. It can be even, but it’s more now it’s more today than what happened in the past already. We need to focus on tonight and tonight only.”