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Tortorella said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will rebound from a subpar performance in Game 5 and "play his best game tomorrow night." He echoed that sentiment for top-line forward Brad Richards, who also struggled on Wednesday.
"It's tough when you go into a game like this. You want to win so bad, sometimes it's more pressure than you need," Lundqvist said. "When you're out there, you try to focus on the things you always focus on. The challenge every time you play an important game is to find a good balance mentally, but I'm trying to approach it the same way."
Tortorella is a master motivator, whether it be with words of encouragement or a dose of tough love that often results in benchings within games. No one is immune from that, as leading scorer Marian Gaborik found out in the Rangers' Game 2 loss.
The coach also has been less contentious with reporters recently, making postgame news conferences calmer even as the stakes have risen during the East finals.
Tortorella is no stranger to digging out of 3-2 holes. He coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to the championship in 2004, erasing such a deficit in the finals against the Calgary Flames.
"I don't have to motivate the team," Tortorella said. "I think our team is motivated. I don't look at it as overcoming a 3-2 deficit. We need to win a hockey game. We're preparing to try to win one hockey game, and we'll see after that.
"We prepare as we always do. There's no magic. There are no special speakers coming in. There is none of that."
Richards scored two goals in that Game 6 win for Tampa Bay, and Ruslan Fedotenko -- now his teammate again with the Rangers -- found the net twice in Game 7 to lock up the Cup for the Lightning.
That experience would seem to be invaluable, but maybe not.
"That was a really long time ago, and I had a concussion at that time so I can't remember really anything," Fedotenko said with a wry smile. "I remember winning, but that is basically it."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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