Referring to the Rangers as the Black-and-Blueshirts seems quaint. Almost as quaint, come to think of it, as referring to the Rangers as Stanley Cup contenders.

They’re free-falling now and in the midst of a crisis as they prepare to face the Hurricanes at the Garden tonight before a match tomorrow night against the Devils in Newark. They’re falling and neither their best players — the ones who “disgusted” coach John Tortorella in Tuesday’s defeat in Buffalo that upset the apple cart — nor their coach appear capable of lifting them back onto their feet.

The Rangers have done more stops and starts in the standings than on the ice. Still, it doesn’t quite compute it has all come apart so quickly or the team has been at its worst in losing the last three by a combined score of 9-2 — just a week after being at its best in victories over the Flyers, Islanders and Capitals.

Tortorella’s postgame diatribe in Buffalo during which he smeared his team’s most important players was conduct unbecoming. Beyond that, it failed to produce the desired effect. This group had deaf ears.

It doesn’t compute that Marian Gaborik can’t thrive playing under Tortorella’s defense-oriented, hard-on-the-puck philosophy; not when the winger scored 40 or more goals in two of his first three seasons playing for this coach.