John Tortorella fielded nine questions in his press conference before the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden. None of those questions were about Rick Nash’s zero goals in this postseason, about Brad Richards and his precipitous fall from grace, captain Ryan Callahan and his rather uneventful first round and how to cope with injuries to Marc Staal and Ryane Clowe.

So, for the second year in a row, the Rangers coach has found a way to continue one of the most amazing illusion acts of all time — drawing attention to himself by being grouchy and stubborn with the media, at least somewhat relieving the pressures on his team.

“Don’t ask me questions about me,” Tortorella said in response to the first question he was asked this series. “Ask me questions about the team. Please.”

Just minutes before, Bruins coach Claude Julien — not exactly a loquacious bard — made clear the respect he had for Tortorella as a coach, and sarcastically lamented the job the media has in front of them with trying to pry answers from the prickly Rangers bench boss.