Here are the postgame quotes following the Devils-Canadiens game on Saturday night:
Talking about his team’s fans…
“It seems like everywhere we go on the road, there’s a huge Canadien-following; they’re passionate. It’s nothing new to us, everywhere we go there are a bunch of Canadiens fans and it’s unbelievable.”
Talk about the intensity of the game tonight…
“They (the Devils) are as good of a patient team that you are going to get in the league. I thought we stuck with it the whole way. We stuck with our game plan, we had some chances off their mistakes and that’s the way the Devils play. They wait for teams to make mistakes, I thought we kind of did that tonight (to them), and let’s face it — we needed the points, it was a big road game; especially after what happened last game and we’ll take it.”
Do you think Carey Price stopping the penalty shot changed the momentum?
“No, he’s at that level now where that’s expected. He actually got roasted on that penalty shot (laughs), no, that’s one area we don’t worry about. Pricer’s been, like I said he’s set the standard so high, you know he’s up there now with the Brodeur’s and the other guys. It shouldn’t be too shocking because he’s the best goalie in the world right now and that’s what he does. He’s a guy that, we know he’s going to come up with the big save and he’s done it all year for us.”
Your line was really flying out there tonight…
“It was good; (Mathieu) Darche, you know what you’re going to get out of him — he’s going to go to the net and put them in. I think Brian closed his eyes and I think he wanted to shoot and it just happened to slip off his stick and he passed it. He’ll probably tell you that he meant to do that, but what can I say; Brian played great, Darche was going hard and scored two big goals, that’s what we’re going to need. We’ll see what happens, hopefully we stay together. It was a great effort by the team: Pricer did his thing and we’re not in (the playoffs) yet, but we’re taking the right steps. Now we get to go back and play at home and we’re pretty excited about that.”
Talking about the intensity of the game…
“We knew that their season was on the line, we knew they were going to come hard and I thought we did a good job of matching their intensity in the first period and we took advantage of some opportunities; fortunately we came out on top.”
It seemed like you were playing in Montreal tonight…
“Our fans have been great; they follow us all over the place and it means a lot to us to have them there.”
How big was that first goal for you guys tonight?
“It’s always big, anytime you can come out and score that first goal; it’s a momentum-shifter, so it was big for us.”
Talking about the play the first goal was scored on…
“They’re a team that’s known to lock down the middle and there are not many plays there, so you have to drive them wide. Matt Darche did a good job of getting his stick on it as I found him going to the net.”
Similar play on the second goal that he scored?
“Same play, I take it wide. Like I said, they take away the middle, there’s not much there. So you have to use that wide lane and hope for the best.”
Some of the plays that they scored on it looked like vintage Gionta and Gomez…
“I don’t know, I didn’t even see the first one I was in the locker room; the second one was a power play right? Gio is a great player with a lot of speed. He keeps his head up all the time so he can make a play and he makes things happen.”
Were you surprised the coach didn’t pull you for an extra attacker at the end of the game?
“Yeah, I was looking (at the bench) the whole way, there was still a lot of time to maybe try to figure something out, but he chose not to.”
Getting eliminated tonight has to feel weird for you right?
“Well I think we knew it was going to come, it doesn’t come as a shocker really. But we had a good run, we played really hard to get ourselves in position to compete for the last ten or fifteen games or so, to try and get into the playoffs; but it was just too much (to overcome). We have four more games and we just have to keep doing what we are doing — playing hard and trying to get some wins.”
What did you think of Zach (Parise) out there tonight?
“He hadn’t played in a while but I think the effort was there, the energy; he looked pretty good to me. I think it’s like anything when you miss a lot of time, I think timing sometimes is not quite right; but he’ll work and I think it’s a good thing for him to be able to go through a full game and I’m sure we’ll really see how he feels tomorrow. It’s fun to see him back in the lineup, that’s for sure.”
Was the overall effort there tonight, you guys seemed to be a step behind?
“They played pretty hard, they were skating really well. I think we made them; we turned the puck over too much early in the game and they got a lot of momentum and it kept us on our heels most of the game. They dictated the play most of the game and it was still a ballgame until the third period — after that they scored a quick one on the power play.”
Was the first goal just a deflection that caught you off guard?
“He made a good play, I think he had one hand on his stick and I didn’t expect him to poke at it. It just went over my shoulder there.”
Kind of strange with the crowd tonight huh?
“It was impressive; that’s the only thing I can say. Better than the Rangers when they come in here (grins). It was impressive, I mean I know the Montreal Canadiens’ fans are die-hard, but to show up in the numbers that they did and how much noise they made, it was weird. It was definitely not something that I expected; I knew there were a lot of people coming, but not half the crowd (laughs).”
Did you have to check every now and then to make sure you were still in New Jersey?
“Well I don’t know about that, but it was definitely weird.”
They also behaved better than the Rangers’ fans…
“Well…I won’t comment on that one (smiles).”
What does it say about the team that you were able to extend this run for as long as you did?
“I think it’s pretty impressive for where we came from and I think we have to be happy to have done so. I think there could have been a lot more miserable way of playing the last 40 games of the season, and I think we all worked hard, listened to what our coach had to say and then we went out there and did it. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t continue as much as people believed that we could have, but it took a lot of energy from everyone to do it. The future will be bright, there’s no doubt about that.”
What do you take from the good run that you guys did have these last 37 games?
“Well I think just the experience that some of the young players took and some of the veterans, the way we stepped back into our own game and did what we do. I think we have to put it together right from the get-go next year, there’s a long way to go. There’s a whole summer to have everybody get prepared; and there’s still four games to go. We just have to try to make it fun for ourselves, and hopefully we’ll have a great game next Saturday (at MSG) that counts for our team.”
Would you like to be out there for the final four games?
“I like to play but I also understand that if they feel Heddy should play; he’s been playing so well, he deserves to get in there. There’s no sense playing all the games but if that’s what they want I’m okay with it; I’m here to play hockey, not here to sit on the bench, but hey if that’s what it is, that’s what it is.”
Everyone around this team says if you don’t win it all then the season wasn’t a success, but is there a reason to be proud of this group?
“Well you can’t be proud; our goal is to make it to the playoffs. Regardless of how you get in, this is the first goal that you need to achieve in the regular season and we’ve not done that. Right there it’s a failure because you always want a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup and that first step is the playoffs and we didn’t make it. So it’s a failure of a season, regardless of how we came back and made it interesting, we’re not going to play when the playoffs come; and that’s what we want. That’s what, at the end of the day, we need a chance to compete for.”
After making it so many years in a row, what’s the feeling amongst the players?
“Disappointing, everybody’s real disappointed. I think it’s weird to have a feeling like that and it’s been weird for three or four games now. Even though we weren’t out of it, we were out of it. We believed that we could try to do our own thing and after that things had to fall into place, but it didn’t. We just have to move on from it.”
Talking about being eliminated…
“It didn’t even cross my mind….you didn’t ask me why.”
“Because I was bothered by this game so much.”
“How we played. I was bothered so much by how we played that it never crossed my mind. How bad we were with the….you know the little round thing there called the puck? My lord!”
Was the effort or the energy not there tonight?
“No energy. I think it was more the mind, we couldn’t make a pass. Montreal played well, I don’t want to take anything away from them, they played a tight game. A lot of times we had the receiver open…and couldn’t complete it.”
Why didn’t you pull Marty for the last minute or minute and a half?
“Because of the way we were playing. We played so bad, I didn’t want another goal; I had enough. As a matter of fact they had a chance (at the end) and another chance after that. One game I did pull the goalie when we had a bad game and gave up a goal. I promised myself next bad game I won’t do that.”
How about Marty giving the guys a chance through two periods?
“Can you ask Marty to be better than how he was tonight? He had nobody in front of him; I’m sorry that’s what it was. Mistakes after mistakes, just a bad game.”
What did you think of Parise?
“He looked like a guy that didn’t play for a year. He’s got to go through this; it’s going to take a little time. And he didn’t get help either, I’m sure if his wingers would have been better, if his center would’ve looked better, I’m sure that it’s not because he didn’t try.”
You came in during a tough situation; do you feel that the team gave you everything they had most nights?
“Oh yeah, it’s just sad that it was not every game. It was not every game; I’m talking to you and I’m trying to find a guy besides Marty that played well (tonight). I can’t, I can’t…it’s got to be (Adam) Mair. Mair, (David) Steckel, you know, they played their game. After that… Teddy, Jo, Kovy, Rollie, Travis. I know they can be better than this.”