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Game 4 postgame quotes: John Stevens

by Staff

Q. You had talked all series about the team's execution offensively.  Do you think something in their minds was different for this game?  A little less nervousness, perhaps, or they had nothing to lose?

COACH STEVENS: Yeah, but I just thought we'd come out with real good energy.  We were skating with the puck.  We got pucks, we didn't just get pucks through the neutral zone, we had speed after the puck, which I thought made a difference.  We got our power play, we started shooting the puck again.  You know, I think we were trying to pass the puck to the net.

They're a very good penalty-killing team, and sometimes you don't score on the initial shot, but you create secondary chances at the net.  I thought the power play did that early, and really gave us momentum.  Obviously, getting the lead was big for us, but we did some really good things in the game, especially early.

Q. On the trap to break in with the stick-handling like you did so often and your forecheck, did you change those consciously or did that just happen to be the way it worked out?

COACH STEVENS: We did a couple things differently tonight that I think helped us get through the neutral zone.  But the trap's not new, they're just playing it really well.  Their forwards are really committed right now.  They've got a really good skating group.  They've got some really intelligent players that angle really well.  If you don't get going right away, they catch you from behind, and you chip pucks into their defense, and they come back at you.  So we're not seeing a new scheme or anything, we're just seeing it executed really well.  We'll have to execute with the puck to get through it.

Q. The line changes were very effective, can you talk about that?

COACH STEVENS: Well, yeah, I thought the line changes were good.  Danny [Briere] looked like he had jump.  I think, you know, he gets the puck a lot from Richie [Mike Richards].  Richie is more of a puck possession guy, and Danny can get the holes.  I thought Vinny [Prospal] did a great job moving in the middle.  He's strong on face offs.  He reads well.  I think there is a little confusion a few times coming back on our end.  But overall I thought he did a great job.  And for guys to move their position in such a critical game, I thought really showed a big commitment for the team, and a little sacrifice for their own game, so it was terrific.

Q. Could you evaluate [Martin] Biron's performance tonight?

COACH STEVENS: Marty was good.  He was solid.  He looked like he was really sharp seeing the puck.  He looked like he read things like he had previously.  So he looked like he was really confident.  We knew we were going to need him to be good, and he was.

Q. Randy Jones in the playoff series is one of the stories that has been underlined.  He's really seems to have taken advantage of the opportunity here, very solid on the puck.  Could you talk about him?  You've been with him a long time, what do you think of his play?
COACH STEVENS: I would agree with you.  Jonesy has been a very good, quiet player for us.  Obviously had to pick up and play huge minutes with the absence of Kimmo [Timonen].  He is playing kill penalties, playing against top lines.  He's been terrific.  He wants more responsibility.  He played for me in the minors and the cup run there, and he sucked it up.  He played hurt, and did everything he could to help our team win.  It's nice to see him have success at this level.

Q. With all the trouble you've had protecting leads in the third period, how good were you in the final 5:30, and what kind of things were said going into it?

COACH STEVENS: Well, I just thought we didn't move our feet with the puck a few times there.  We got a little scrambly.  I think we got a little bit too desperate without composure with the puck there.  But the first goal, I'd have to see it again, but from what I recall it was kind of a lucky break.  It bounced up in the air and found its way into the net.

But the second goal we made a nice play.  I thought we settled down a little bit and started to relaxing and doing good things with the puck like we had earlier in the hockey game.  They're a good team.  They come with a lot of pressure, and they start to activate their "D".  [Sergei] Gonchar was up on every play.  And he's one of the best defensemen in the league right now.

Bottom line we got the win.  I thought it was a gutsy effort by our team.  I'd like to keep it 3-0 when we get it there.  But we seem to have a way to make it exciting one way or another.

Q. Picking up on that theme, you used all your energy tonight to stay alive.  You have life.  How do you duplicate that energy now going back to Pittsburgh and trying to find life?

COACH STEVENS: Well, just for us, it's about winning one game.  We actually had Kimmo come in and give our last starting lineup like we do before we go out.  He was a part of things.  You know, I just think we're looking at one game, you know.  We need to win a game to keep playing, just like they do.

In that sense, we're in the same boat.  You know, who knows, we could get some help with getting people healthier on the weekend.  But we've got two days to rest here and get ready to do it again.  We're going to need that kind of urgency the rest of the way.

Q. You kind of hit it on the health issue.  You had a couple of days off now.  Is there a shot for Coburn to play Sunday and possibly even Timonen?

COACH STEVENS: Well, we won't know until each day, we see what it brings.  But is there a chance?  I think there is, either or both.  The first thing is you have to make sure of the health of the player here, and we're not going to put anybody at risk.  If they're not able to go, we'll keep marching ahead like we are.  But if we're able to get one or both back, it would be a huge lift for our team.

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