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Ward on tonight's starting goalie ... Gaudreau on facing Hellebuyck ... Lucic on playoff success


Geoff Ward on starting goalie:

"They were told yesterday night. They both had some time to mull it over and get ready for today. The reason for not divulging it, quite frankly, is that now they're going to have to do some work on both guys. ... It leaves some uncertainty. It may not be huge, but it may be some kind of a factor."


Video: "The guys were loose - but not too loose"



Johnny Gaudreau on big day:

"Just a lot of excitement. Probably the longest any player in this league has gone without playing a hockey game. Everyone's pretty jacked up. This morning we had a great morning skate. You could feel the energy and the excitement, so we're excited to get this thing going."


Milan Lucic on team being ready to go:

"We've talked about it a lot. Our practices have been really high pace and intense and we've done battle drills and all that type of stuff to simulate the feeling as much as possible. Also - the preparation, too. We've done a lot of video. The good thing about our exhibition game is that it was spirited, there was emotion, there was hitting, there were scrums. All the things you need to do to prepare for an elimination-style game." 


Ward on same topic:

"I think they've been showing signs of it now for about 10 days to be honest with you. I like how our focus has been. I've talked about it before. I like the way it's been business-like. The guys are dialled in to everything we're doing in practice, they've come in in good shape. I thought in our morning skate today, the guys were loose - but not too loose. ... Now that the preparation is over, we feel that our team is prepared. Now we've got to go out there and drop the puck." 


Video: "Everyone's pretty jacked up"


Lucic on key against Connor Hellebuyck:

"You've got to make him work. Those second shots and third shots, those are the ones that end up being big goals, especially in the playoffs, by making a goalie work. Get in his eyes, make him feel uncomfortable. He's obviously a big part of their team. Probably the Vezina Trophy this year. That's going to be one of our biggest challenges in this series." 


Gaudreau on Hellebuyck:

"Traffic. Get it in his eyes, obviously. Something that is difficult for most goalies. That's a big point there. If we're getting bodies in front of him, getting second and third chances on rebounds, we'll be successful there."


On ramping it up in the playoffs:

"Just looking back at my game throughout the (season) here, a little bit of a downfall in the production there, but we're in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers right now and we're competing for a Stanley Cup. You can put that season behind you and we're a team here now and I'm excited to be here with the guys. We have an opportunity to do something special during this crazy 2020 year. I'm looking forward to being part of that. 


Lucic on getting amped up:

"What's obviously different, especially for a guy like me, (is) you love to feed off the emotion of a playoff crowd, regardless of whether you're at home or on the road. The emotion always gets pumped up a few notches. But in this situation, that's where the preparation comes in. You've got to create your own emotion, your own energy. That's the experience that I'm going to try and bring to the team tonight."


On playoff success:

"Big plays, big goals, all that type of stuff (is important in the playoffs). But it's who - for me, in my experience - it's who's willing to do the little things more often, more consistently and stick with it. When I talk about little things, that's breakout passes, getting the puck out, dumping the puck in, winning those little battles, faceoffs, blocked shots. Yes, you need the big goals. Yes, you need the big saves. But it's the repetitiveness of all those things that gets you to know where you want to go."


Gaudreau joking about his long locks:

"No barber shops in the bubble. We're expecting to be here in two months, so at some point over the next two months I'm going to need some scissors ... It's getting a little bit outrageous here.

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