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“Can’t do anything about it,” Tortorella said. “I’d rather play, but TV kind of rules with that, doesn’t it? Both team will take advantage. We try to find the best way to use it. We have our process that we’ll go through. I’m sure they do, too.”

Top-line forward Marian Gaborik holds a lot of the Rangers‘ chances to advance in his hands. The purest goal scorer on New York’s roster was limited to 22 in 62 games in a disappointing and injury-filled regular season, and he has no points in this series.

New York’s offensive difficulties are even more apparent because of the absence of second-leading scorer Ryan Callahan, who broke a leg in the final week of the regular season.

“I feel pretty good. Hopefully something will get in soon,” Gaborik said. “Just got to keep skating and drive the net and be responsible defensively and create chances.”

Seeing the Rangers grind out a win they needed appears to have served as a wakeup call to the Capitals, who again posted the best record in the Eastern Conference (48-23-11).

They know no one will remember their record if they flame out in the first round for a second straight year. Alex Ovechkin is already one Stanley Cup title and another finals appearance behind Pittsburgh rival Sidney Crosby.

Another postseason failure could even cost Boudreau his job.

“They were a desperate hockey team and we didn’t match their work ethic and their enthusiasm,” Capitals forward Matt Bradley said. “There’s really no excuse for it, but it was one game. It’s not like we played a bad game, we just didn’t play as well as we needed to.

“It’s just a matter of getting back to that work ethic and the good defensive play that we had the first two games and we’ll be fine. We’re not going to dwell on the last game. It’s up to us now to turn the tide.”