We've been staying in a hotel downtown for home games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Ritz across the street from the arena. We treat it kind of like a road game. We've been pretty successful on the road during the season and then during the playoffs.
It kind of gives us that road mentality -- there are no distractions, we watch video together to prepare and just get ready for the game. Walking over to the rink isn't as crazy as you'd think as far as people hounding you for autographs or things like that. The fans have kind of just let us be.
There was a huge buzz around the arena before Game 4. There were people everywhere, and the excitement was building. You could see it walking over, and it was obviously in the back of our minds what we could accomplish that night. You have to forget about it best you can and put those distractions aside so you can get ready to play a game.
I've had the chance to play with Simon Gagne the past two games after he came back from an injury. He's played a lot of years in the League and, even more importantly, a lot of playoff games. For a guy like me to get to play with him, it is like an honor to play with a guy of that status.
The numbers he's put up and the years he's played, he's obviously an elite player. He's been playing a fourth-line role since he came back, and he's OK with that because he wants to play any way he can. It is very exciting for me to get to play with a guy like that.
It was definitely in the back of our minds what was at stake, but you've got a job to do. Really, Game 4 was so similar to Games 1 and 2. It was such a close game and such a tight game that it really could have gone either way.
Both teams had surges in different parts of the game, but we came up a little bit short. We just have to regroup and be ready to play our best game in Game 5.
When I played with Chicago, we won the Stanley Cup on the road in Philadelphia in 2010. Obviously everyone wants to win the Cup at home. That is the best-case scenario, to do it in front of your fans and your city, but the reality is that doesn't always happen.
To win it anywhere it is just as satisfying. It is definitely a lot quieter in the building, but nobody cares where it happened once it does -- everyone is just so happy that we got it done.
We flew from L.A. to Newark on Thursday. The last time we were here we had more time, but I don't think there will be any difference in getting used to the time change. We're used to it from the last time, and New Jersey is obviously in the same boat. They had to come all this way as well. Having the extra day to get accustomed to the time change and get a good practice in today will help us get ready for the game Saturday.
For me, the biggest thing is just trying to get on the new time zone right away. I don't go to bed really early, but I try to go to bed a decent time and get up at a decent time in the time zone you're in versus going to bed later and waking up later. A lot of that depends on how good of a sleeper you are, and for me I don't have too many problems with it. I get accustomed right away.
I think Game 5 is going to be a tight, tight game again for sure. New Jersey has their backs against the wall, and they are desperate. They're going to play their best game. They have to.
I think Game 4 was so similar to 1 and 2, but they had their chances, too. I think we have to approach Game 5 more like we have our backs to the wall, and have that desperate mentality to win a hockey game.
Wednesday night was Game 1 and we won in overtime. I also scored my first NHL playoff goal, so it was a special night.
The day leading up to the game was super exciting. We had seven days off, so the guys were pretty anxious to get going. There was a lot of lead-up to the game, a lot of time to practice and sitting around waiting to play.
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That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.