The Rangers played exactly the kind of game you'd expect them to play after clinching the Eastern Conference crown on Tuesday night.
Intensity wasn't particularly high, Martin Biron wasn't able to do the Henrik Lundqvist thing in the net and the Penguins skated off to a fairly easy 5-2 win as a result.
The Rangers aren't going to win games this season if they can't match the effort level of their opponents and their effort, understandably, wasn't quite up to par on Thursday.
Had that been all that happened in Pittsburgh, we'd be scrambling a bit for ways to fill out this here post. Worry not, we won't be sharing Ryan Callahan's favorite recipe because John Tortorella came out firing in his postgame meeting with the press.
Late in the third period, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik kneed Derek Stepan and Stepan stayed down for a long time before leaving for the rest of the night. It wasn't the dirtiest hit in the history of the game, but it was enough to set Tortorella off on a healthy rant against the Penguins' habit of whining about everything that happens to them while also playing a rather filthy brand of hockey themselves that includes Orpik's "cheap and dirty" hit on Stepan.
"I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there, so I'm anxious to see what happens with the league with this," Tortorella said. "There’s no respect among players. None. It’s sickening. They’re one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this all the time and look what happens. They’ll whine about something else, won’t they, starting with their two [expletive] stars?"
The two stars are, of course, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, who touched off a pier-six brawl against Philly over the weekend because he didn't like getting checked in a totally legal manner.
The Penguins have a reputation for pretty hockey because of those two players, but they can get nasty -- which isn't a bad thing -- and, thanks to thugs like Matt Cooke, they can cross the line.
It probably won't change anything in the league office when it comes to punishment for Orpik, but it might just change something over the course of a long playoff series in a couple of weeks.
Tortorella's smart enough to know that he's doing the hockey equivalent of influencing the jury pool when he goes off like that and people like Mike Milbury are going to run with it on the air every night.
The regular season ends Saturday night against the Caps, who are still battling the Panthers and Senators for the right to battle the Rangers in the first round. The Rangers have a magic number of one for the best record in the NHL, which would be a pretty swell way to wrap up this regular season and start the most anticipated playoff run in a very long time.