Your team’s first goal changed the game around…
“Yeah, early on they came with some good pressure, but once we scored I think we kind of relaxed and played our game; just played really a patient game. We finally capitalized on our chances.”
You were going against a guy in (Johan) Hedberg that hadn’t been in nets for a while and it can’t hurt to get any type of shot on him right?
“Well especially because usually against Jersey we can’t generate much, so our main focus was just drive the net, get pucks there and see what happens.”
You have three goals now in the last three games now, that has to feel good for you?
“It’s nice; I don’t think I played as well as I did some of the other nights where I didn’t score, but I got two tonight. Obviously I’ll take it and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Last night I thought your line was flying the last two periods and didn’t get anything out of it…
“I thought last night we were better. We generated more (scoring chances) than I thought we did tonight, got quality chances and just didn’t bury them. Tonight we got a few and hopefully we can continue it.”
Your team is so good on the road and not so good at home, can you figure this out?
“It’s hard. Like I said, I thought we played well yesterday. Every time we tied it up, we had good chances to get the lead. One breakdown or two breakdowns and we were playing from behind again.”
The second goal in the first period helped your team’s confidence tonight, right?
“Yeah sure; once you get that 1-0 lead, you have to stay patient but obviously when you have that chance you have to go get that second, third one, fourth one just like we did tonight. We have to start putting teams away.”
Talk about your first goal tonight…
“It was just a perfect cross-ice pass (by Derek Roy), it finally didn’t hit a skate or a stick or anything and just a real, clean pass. It was a pass from the side and I just jammed it in, a great pass by Derek.”
You almost got the hat trick with 2:27 left in the game with your shot from the slot…
“Yeah, great save; great goaltender (Martin Brodeur). I thought that was one of my better shots, of the game — he just made an unbelievable save on it.”
You scored your second goal 26 seconds after they scored, how big was that?
“It was nice, obviously up 5-1, we have a pretty good lead, but we have the mentality: if we get scored on, let’s just come right back and score on them. On the play, I came in and tried going low glove, he made a great save; just a lucky bounce that it came right back to my stick and I put it in.”
Do you think the way you are playing on the road means that the home problems will be able to be fixed?
“Yeah, it’s just patience with our game; the other night (against New Jersey) it was a chess match out there. A lot of times it’s dictated by who scores first — we scored first (tonight) and its who can hold on and be willing not to make that mistake or turnover. You have to get the puck in and work the other team, establish some speed in the neutral zone and things were better tonight than the night before.”
Nice to see some offense from guys like (Mike) Grier and (Rob) Niedermayer tonight?
“Eventually they were going to chip in. Tonight was a great example of getting around the net, creating more and guys scored from in tight.”
Do your early season struggles get pushed away when you have a game like this?
“We hope its something we can build off of; it’s how you react now. I think last night, losing a tough one at home, against a division rival — you want to see how you react. I thought tonight we came out and I thought we did a good job of getting established. Early on the Devils were the team that was rested and they came hard, but we settled into an organized game and got the pucks where we needed them.”
When did you find out Ilya Kovalchuk wasn’t playing tonight and how did that factor into the game?
“I had no idea until I got here this afternoon, so I’m not sure what happened or what’s going on. But we’re all professionals no matter who’s in or who’s out, we just have to go out there and still play our game. Kovy’s obviously an unbelievable player and adds so much to this team, but we have to still go out there and play better than we did tonight.”
Upcoming is the longest road trip of the season, is it coming at a good time?
“It couldn’t get any better. I think it’s an opportunity for us to get to know each other better; a chance to get on the road and do some team bonding, go out together. I think just a thing where you get to know everybody; that’s something that will help us out a lot.”
Is it good that it’s the Rangers tomorrow where the antenna is always usually up when you cross the (Hudson) River?
“No matter what the score was in the third period tonight, we had to get ready for tomorrow. We have to come out and play that first period tomorrow as hard as we can and the way the Devils play or else we’ll be in trouble. We have to go out there and get back to our game.”
Why was Kovalchuk scratched?
“That’s between him and I; it was my decision.”
It was your decision, not management’s decision?
“It was my decision.”
“No, I take responsibility for all of my decisions that I make — including responsibilities for games.”
Will he play tomorrow?
“I’ll make that decision in the morning.”
He could have played? Is he healthy enough to play?
“I’m not getting into it one way or another. I told you it was the coach’s decision, it was my decision.”
So was it a non-hockey matter or hockey related?
“As I said I’m not discussing it. It’s my decision, I made it. He knows, I spoke with him and that’s where it’s going to stay.”
Was it a distraction for the other players?
“I hope not.”
Then how do you explain 6-1?
“I’m still having trouble finding the answers for that myself. Ultimately it falls on my responsibility to get these guys prepared to play.”
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