Here are some of the postgame quotes after the Devils 6-3 win over the NY Rangers on Wednesday night:
Talking about the game…
“It was kind of a weird game early on, but we were able to establish our game after we scored the fifth goal.”
Is it easier to get motivated for a game against the Rangers or Pittsburgh, i.e., teams in your division?
“Well I think it shouldn’t be like that, the crowd gets into it a lot more; especially since we haven’t played a home game for a while here with the Olympic break. It was nice to get back home and play in an emotional game, we needed something to get ourselves jump-started here and hopefully a game like that will do it. We have a big challenge on Friday against Pittsburgh – who’s playing real well.”
Talking about his goal…
“Good play by Zach and Zubie to get the puck through the neutral zone; Zubie made a good pass to me and I was all alone coming down (the wing) and I was able to sneak it by him.”
The first half of the game you gave up three goals, the second half none, what if anything changed?
“I don’t think anything did. We played a pretty good hockey game all night, we were competing. Those goals (we gave up) its not because we weren’t trying, they’re going to get one once in a while. We did a good job countering that, making sure when we had the two-goal lead to continue to pressure them and continue to get (scoring) chances.”
Have you been making an effort to shoot the puck more this season?
“A little bit; Zach’s always yelling at me to shoot more so (laughs) I’m trying to shoot more often. Even if you don’t score it creates rebounds for Zach and Zubie to get in there, and that’s what they’re good at — around the crease, that’s where they get a lot of their goals. I think it helps the whole line when everyone is shooting, everyone’s dangerous.”
You scored your career-high 21st goal tonight, any significance to you?
“Not really; I think every year you want to build on the year before, get better and become a better hockey player. That was my goal coming into this season, just become more of a dangerous player and a guy who can be counted on to score some goals.”
Talking about playing the Rangers…
“When you play your rival it’s always a fun game. It always seems that regardless of where the two teams are in the standings, it’s always a tight, good game and both teams are pretty excited about the match-up.”
Was the meeting yesterday or playing against the Rangers the cause for the offensive explosion?
“I don’t want to, blow the meeting out of proportion, but I think it helped (get us back on track). It was good to get a team in here that a lot of times, brings out the best in us. We have to get excited to play them because we know they are fighting for their playoff-lives; it’s a rival, you have to play well against them.”
Is this a byproduct of having the team meeting yesterday?
“It’s easy to point at that and say that, I’d like to think that it’s a byproduct of once you hit a certain point that there’s nowhere to go but up. I think it just got our focus going in the right direction; I don’t remember who said it in the meeting yesterday, but it was like we were waiting for something to happen. Finally something was said and I think you saw a better effort tonight — a lot more of the determination and battle that we’re going to need to get points down the stretch and going forward.”
The first three times you scored, they responded; how did the team keep its focus?
“I think three days ago we might have (lost our focus). We had a different mindset tonight; you could hear it on the bench. After they scored the third goal, we were like ‘it’s no matter, we’re still going to get it.’ That wasn’t there the last little while, where when something goes wrong it’s like ‘here we go again.’ We had a much better mindset and I think it showed in the way we played as solid a 60 minutes as we have in a while.”
Why do you think it was a better mindset, was it the meeting?
“That’s part of it, maybe; but we had a lot of guys focused out there tonight. We hit a certain bottom point and hopefully a little bit of a wakeup call.”
Seeing Henrik Lundqvist get pulled after the fifth goal, was that an accomplishment?
“I think the win was the accomplishment, I don’t know how many of those you can fault him on. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of going to the net; that’s the way we need to play hockey. I’m sure it was them trying to shake things up a bit too.”
Is this game a nice reminder of what your team is capable of with balanced scoring?
“I hope so, I think the key for us will be how we respond with these next games; we have another tough battle on Friday (Pittsburgh) and then another divisional game on Saturday (NY Islanders) and then turn around again on Monday (Boston). We need to have that same intensity and same focus night-in and night-out, we’ve shown spurts of it and the key for us is to make sure we get out of it and play good hockey for the duration of the season.”
How many questions have you answered so far about the meeting?
“Too many (smiles).”
The first half of the game you give up three goals, none after that, did anything change?
“No, I think that’s part of playing hockey games, you have to realize that everything’s not going to always go perfect and you just have to continue to play the game. In January we played them to a 0-0 game heading into a shootout; tonight it wasn’t going to be that game — you have to play this (night’s) game. I think we did a lot better job tonight of not getting rattled even though we didn’t play the perfect game. We just went out and played.”
Is it that easy where you have a team meeting, say you want team unity and you get this kind of performance?
“It’s not that easy; I think the players did their share and that’s the reason it worked. The guys were focused to play this game; this was probably one of the few games where we played three periods — the same way. We still did some mistakes here and there, but we played hard three periods, the same way.”
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