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Game 3 postgame quotes: John Stevens

Tuesday, 05.13.2008 / 11:09 PM / 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs

By Compiled By - NHL.com Staff


Q. Are they playing some variation of a neutral zone trap against you guys?  What do they do when they shut you guys down?

COACH STEVENS:  Well, it's exactly what it is, it's a trap.  They executed very well.  They pounce on turnovers.  They're very committed to the checking game right now.  They're creating all their offense from the checking side of the puck, and they're doing it very well.

You know, our puck support execution is just -- it's not where it needs to be, and I think you have to give them some credit for it.  They're checking us into turnovers.  We're not executing with the pressure that we're receiving, and they're feasting on the turnovers.

Q. This is two games now where Steve [Downie]'s been involved in a turnover that's led to an important goal.  Knowing him like you do, how do you think he's going to be able to handle this?

COACH STEVENS:  I think his feelings are not important right now, to be honest with you.  We put him back in because you know he's a big-game player, but he's got to learn, and obviously, he hasn't.  So you can't make that play.  A flat pass, going in the offensive zone with [Evgeni] Malkin on the ice, it hasn't worked all series.  I don't know why we think it's going to work now.

They do a great job of getting people back inside the box.  That's why I think pucks need to go at the net.  They're committed defensively right now.  We can hear about their offensive game.  But they're committed defensively right now.  Those flat passes in the offensive zone are killers the other way.

Q. You have a terrible situation, but what do you do besides say we have to be more committed?  How can you do something between now and the next game?

COACH STEVENS:  I don't know if I would say we have to be more committed, we just have to play better.  I don't think there's any lack of commitment on our team's part whatsoever.  I think we've got to find a way to play with confidence and execute with the pressure we're receiving. 

I mean, they're on a roll, can you just see it. They're playing with a lot of confidence right now.  They've won a lot of games in the playoffs.  They're doing things with the puck that they weren't doing earlier in the series.  And I think we have to do a better job of pressuring the puck and playing as a group of five with and without the puck.You know, we're getting outplayed right now, and we've got to dig in.

Q. Is there any chance you're going to try to jump-start the offense by changing up your lines Thursday?

COACH STEVENS:  There's a chance we'll do a lot of things. I'm sure we'll make a change there, at least one change.  But I thought Danny [Briere]'s line was much better tonight.  I really liked the way Vinny [Prospal] and Danny, and Hartsy [Scott Hartnell] played tonight.  I'm sure we could tweak a couple things.  We'll have to look at something.  Because we're having a tough time creating any kind of offense right now, any kind of sustained activity in the offensive zone.  We had some ebbs and flows, but, you know, we've got to find a way to get more continuity when we roll our lines and spend more time in the offensive zone.

Q. If they probably had the script the way they wanted to come in and play this Game 3, it would be score a couple goals early, which is exactly what they did.  I mean, and take the crowd out.  Can you talk about just how deflating it is to get behind 2 0 in the first 7, 8 minutes of the game?

COACH STEVENS:  There's lots of hockey left.  It just happens.  The first goal they get a power play, and throw it off the net, it goes off a body in front.  But there's lots of hockey left.  I mean, it's 60 minute hockey game.  Obviously, they have the lead.  It's not a situation that we would have scripted for ourselves.  But there's still lots of hockey left.

I think we know now that they play very well with the lead.  They've got a defense that's experienced.  (Sergei) Gonchar plays huge minutes right now, and he controls the play.  Ideally you want to play with a with the lead or play even, because if you play into your hands right now you get behind.

Q. Offensively did you really have to change things upcoming into this game?  Because obviously it makes up for defensive shortcomings, had you to drop third guy high to play consistently?

COACH STEVENS:  No, I don't see it that way.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I've been wrong before.  But I just don't see our execution getting up the ice.  I mean, we have a lot of pucks that we start out with.  We don't get through the neutral zone into the offensive zone.  To me, that's where we're really falling short in this series.  Our execution when we have the puck is not where it needs to be.

You know, I think it's improved at times, but it's not at a level where it allows us to create the offensive attack we'd like.  We did create some chances, we didn't give up a whole lot, but they're a very opportunistic team.  They don't need a lot of chances to put pucks in the net.  If they get chances on the rush with numbers, they're a dangerous hockey team.

I've said it from the beginning, it's just our ability to manage the puck coming off the ice, it has to get better.

Q. Do you find their composure for such a young team very unusual, even when they get a break, goes against them, they just keep right on going?

COACH STEVENS:  Well, not really.  They're a good team.  They were fighting for a top spot the East.  They had an experience last year as a team where they lost.  They learned from that.  [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin, I mean, they're great players.  They've been put in key situations for a while and have veteran guys around there.  They've been in the league a long time.  You don't get to be one of the Final Four teams and not play with composure.



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