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Game 3 postgame quotes: Michel Therrien

by Staff

Q.  Can you talk about the importance of getting off to that quick start and taking this crowd out of the game right from the start?  And just not letting the Flyers feed off their emotion?

COACH THERRIEN:  That was crucial.  We did it against the Rangers.  We wanted to try to dictate every time that you're coming to a new building and having that two game lead, and most of the time the home team will feed from the crowd.

That was kind of our game plan, to make sure we pursued the puck really well, and try to attack them as quick as we can, ending up having a two-goal lead, and that took away their emotion.  Took away the emotion that they could go with the crowd.  But after that, you know what, we committed defensively, and we didn't give up much.

Q.  Can you talk a little about Ryan Whitney's play?  And what was lacking earlier in the season that forced you to move the forward and what you've seen since then?

COACH THERRIEN:  Well, he's playing much better than he was during the regular season.  There was a time that he was playing great.  But for a young defenseman, sometimes consistency was not there at times.  We worked with him, we tried different recipes, and just to make sure that when it's going to get to playoff time, he is going to get the message, and he's going to get ready. He's doing a great job right now.  He's playing like a veteran.  He's moving the puck really well.  He's solid defensively and doing everything we asked him to do.

Q.  Did you get the feeling during this game with both teams that somebody might have said something to the referees after the first period to maybe swallow their whistles and let the teams play.  Five penalties immediately, and then one penalty the rest of the game was called.  Did you get that feeling and coach to that effect?

COACH THERRIEN:  Well, the referees do.  They call what they see.  If there's an obstruction, they're going to call what they're supposed to call like it's supposed to be called.  What are you going to do?  You're not pleased with some calls, but after you're watching it, it was hooked to the gloves and you're not supposed to do that.

It's not going to be different rules because we get to the playoffs.  Both teams are expecting the same thing during the regular season and the playoffs.  Sometimes you're not pleased, you know.  We're not pleased with the [Marian] Hossa call, but you know what, you're looking after and he hooked.  He deserved that penalty.

The same thing with the Flyers.  Early in the game, they deserved the penalty.  After that, I think it sent a message to the players, and where's the line.  I thought both teams reacted really well.

Q.  Can you talk about the play of Marian Hossa tonight?  How early did you sense he was going to have a good night?

COACH THERRIEN:  He's got a good game.  And one thing I asked our players, we knew it was going to be a big game for us.  I asked the players to make sure they got a good game.  I told them some of you guys probably will have a great game.  But I can't ask for a great game.  I'm allowed to ask you to have a good game.  I'm not going to accept having a fair game.  And that was the message before the game.  Everyone involved in the game had a good game.  And if we've all got good games we're going to have a chance to win the hockey game, and this is what we did.

This is a young team who is playing a really mature game.  They're committed defensively.  And when you have skilled players committed defensively like we're doing right now, we give us a chance to win.  Because you know there's going to be times that we're going to have our own scoring chances, and with the skill of those players, you know that the turn of the puck will get in.  But as long as our focus is there and we're committed defensively like we're doing right now, I like our chances.

Q.  Coach, Crosby didn't take a shot in the first period, yet he had two assists.  I thought even dominated the play there.  Is that what kind of a superstar that he is, that he can really dictate the tempo of a game without even taking a shot?

COACH THERRIEN:  Well, a guy like Crosby, he's our captain.  He wants to make sure he's a great leader.  In a big game like that, you're looking for your great leader to show the way, to dictate the way to the rest of the team.  There is no doubt Sid tonight I thought was fantastic, and he stuck to the plan, too, as well.  You can't ask more for a leader like Crosby's doing right now for this hockey team.

Q.  You've been the last two teams you played rangers and Flyers are two teams that thrived on the forecheck and thrived on the cycle.  Yet I can't remember in either series either team getting a chance to do so for more than 30 seconds or so.  What are you doing to prevent that?

COACH THERRIEN:  Well, they've got to give a lot of credit to the defensemen.  I thought they moved the puck really well.  We played a solid defensive game.  We don't like to lose the puck.  We don't want the other team to forecheck us that hard.  It's a unit of five that's got to do their job on the ice.  And we stressed that to the players to make sure that unit of five was going to be there and do their job.

I thought tonight they tried to forecheck hard, and that was part of their game plan.  But we were capable to contain them, and move some pucks with the breakout, good decisions with the puck, and take away a little bit of their forecheck.

Q.  Could you also talk about the commitment from the forwards?  Has that stepped up on defense what those guys have done, John Stevens talked about that right in here a few minutes ago.

COACH THERRIEN:  Well, like I said, this is a young team playing a mature game.  And they're all committed defensively.  This is what I like about our team.  When you're committed defensively, you give yourself a chance to win.  Our focus is there, and I like our chance right now.

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