Rangers eliminated from playoffs, but coach's contract extended
The process of building the Rangers so they aren’t left bringing knives to a gunfight, the way they were in this playoff confrontation with the Capitals, will continue with John Tortorella behind the bench, The Post has learned.Sources have told The Post that Tortorella’s contract, originally due to expire after this season, was extended a couple of months ago.Garden and Rangers executives cited policy in declining comment, but it is believed that the extension will cover the next three seasons. Tortorella, who was hired on Feb. 23, 2009, has taken the Rangers to the playoffs twice in three years, but his teams have gone out in the first round both times, and both times to the Capitals.
Two years ago it was a seven-game series, the Rangers blowing a 3-1 series lead. This time, it ended in a tidy five games, elimination coming yesterday with a 3-1 defeat in which the Rangers scored their lone goal — and just their eighth goal of the series — with 31.5 seconds to play.“I don’t think our team is fully built yet, and I’ll be honest, we’re not there as far as talent,” Tortorella said minutes after the season came to an end. “You look at where this Washington team was, and [how they added] draft picks.“We’re still in a process, trying to get better,” he added. “There are areas with our team where we need to be better. But we’ll continue to build and continue to find our way.”Lack of goal-scoring undermined the Rangers in this series just as that deficiency threatened to derail the team during the season. The power play that finished the season on a 1-for-27 skid was dysfunctional, going 1-for-20 after yesterday’s two failures.The fact, however, is that despite those deficiencies, the Rangers had a 1-0 third-period lead here in Game 1 before losing in overtime and had that 3-0 third-period lead in Game 4 at the Garden before losing in double overtime.