Can you describe your second goal?
Center - DET
Goals: 4 | Assists: 3 | Pts: 7
Shots: 25 | +/-: 2
“I was picking up a lot of speed in the D-zone, the puck funneled up to Larks on the wall and he made a great play to take the D out and kind of leave a little room to pick up the puck. I was coming in with a lot of speed and fortunately that move worked out.”
Are you gaining more and more confidence?
“When you get a little opportunity and every game I get and every shift I get I kind of build up a little more and get a little more confidence out there. It’s just growing with every shift and every game.”
Can you describe your first goal?
“Me, Tats and Nykie at a great line rush there. I saw Nykie coming in late and had a man on him, I don’t know how he funneled that puck to the net, but he got it through and Tats was right there in the crease causing havoc and it just popped out to me and I just shot it. I think it went off of him and in, a little bit of a lucky one.”
You managed to draw a few penalties tonight, is that part of your game as well?
“With my game and style of play if you catch their forwards kind of on their heels and when you put them on their heels like that sometimes they’re forced to take a penalty. Every game I come into I try and do my best, whether it’s drawing penalties or scoring goals, or just playing good defensively.”
What did you think of the job that Howard did tonight?
“Unbelievable. His last couple of games he’s been stellar for us. Unfortunately he didn’t get the win in New York. Tonight he was a brick back there. A little bit of a lucky on in the end there, but he held his ground well.”
How important was getting that second point tonight?
“A big thing. You’re finishing off a road trip like that and playing against a hot team like Dallas, you have to bring everything you’ve got. These last two games have been huge for us.”
You had two goals tonight and a pretty good outdoor game, how good are you feeling now?
“It’s an unbelievable experience. I’ve been learning so much. I’m just trying to battle here as much as I can to help these guys win every chance I get.”
What is it like going so fast?
“It feels real nice when you pick up that much speed and you get it there in the neutral zone at top speed you know almost that the D is going to backup, hold his ice. It has always been an asset of mine. I’ve worked on it every year.
Can you describe your overtime winner?
Center - DET
Goals: 13 | Assists: 23 | Pts: 36
Shots: 134 | +/-: 9
“I just saw rebound. It was a good rebound.”
How good was it to see Howard play the way he did?
“He actually played unbelievable the last game he played and he gave us a chance. Today, he made lots of saves, kept us in the game.”
How important was this win?
“It’s very important for us. Winning games, we needed to get points to make playoffs. More important Jimmy played well in net and know the team played together.”
What do you think about Athansiou’s speed?
“He don’t have speed he’s lightning.”
Remember having speed like that?
“I remember one time like same speed, but can’t skate like that.”
What about the move that Athanasiou put on Oduya?
“Not just the defense, but he surprised goalie probably. Goalie fell down, but it’s more important he makes his move and everything and he scores. Sometimes it’s everyone talk about move, but it’s more important he scores. He finished it.”
|Andreas Athanasiou celebrates the first of his two goals Monday night for the Red Wings. It was the rookie's first multi-point game of his NHL career. (Photo by Getty Images) |
How important was it that Howard was rewarded tonight?
“Great for Jimmy. Obviously he was great in New York and didn’t get the victory. I thought he deserved it in New York and we couldn’t get it for him there but we got it tonight for him here so good for him.”
What alternative does a goalie have when Athanasiou uses his speed like he did on his second goal?
“The one thing Double A can really do is he can separate himself with speed. You either separate yourself with speed or you separate yourself with strength and he does it with speed. It’s hard on goalies. It’s hard on defensemen when he’s attacking with that level of speed. He is like Larkin in that they can skate full speed and make plays. And that play might be a toe-drag, that play might be a shot, that play might be a pass. Very few guys can do it. He can do it. I thought he was feeling it tonight so we tried to get him on the ice as much as we could.”
What was second goal a ‘Wow’ moment for you?
“I’ve seen it from Double A so it’s a great moment. We want guys that can make plays out of nothing and that was certainly a great one.”
He certainly can put a team on their heels by drawing penalties?
“He’s done a good job of drawing penalties. He’s done it most of the games he’s played. He’s done a great job of putting teams on their heels. Again, I thought him and Larkin were both skating well and in a fast game like tonight – that was a super fast game for me – those guys really show up.”
Nice to see Datsyuk can still score at 37 years old?
“Pavel is an elite, elite player. I don’t care how old he is. He’s an elite player in the league. He’s one of the best in the league still today. He’s unbelievably competitive. He wins pucks and he plays such a complete game. He’s a special player.”
How satisfying are these last two wins?
“The points are critical. Other teams are winning tonight. That’s a really good hockey team. They’ve won lots of games for a reason. They’ll continue to win games the last 20. To come in here and win is a big thing for us, for sure. To win in Colorado is a big thing. They’re trying to scratch and claw for every point they can. We gotta keep doing everything we can to get as many points as we can. We’ve got points in five straight games now. We gotta keep getting points as much as we can.”
No moves at deadline good since it doesn’t take time away ice time from guys like Athanasiou?
“I think that’s a critical piece to it. It’s great to feel like you want to make a move but are you making a move just to make a move or are you helping the team? I think lots of times you’re actually taking away form guys that are on the cusp of doing special things, whether it’s Jurco played good the other night in Colorado, Double A played well tonight. Somebody’s got to come out of the lineup when players come in. So I thought Ken did the right thing. There’s no elite, elite players out there. Let’s go with the group we have. I told our guys tonight before the game, ‘This is what I wanted. I wanted our group.’ I believe in our group. I think we’ve got a chance to do special things. Do we gotta play better? Yeah, we got to continue to grow but I think our group can do special things.”
Will Mrazek (groin) be ready for Wednesday’s home game against Chicago?
“We actually expect him to play. We were precautionary tonight. We wanted to make sure he didn’t injure it any more. But it would be day to day so we’ll know more for sure on Wednesday but we expect him ready to play.”
Do you like the good mix on your roster now with vets and young guys?
“I think if you go back over the last two games and the different goal scorers we’ve had, we got real different combinations. Richards probably doesn’t get enough credit for what he does. He puts pucks into space for Larkin and Double A and makes tons of really good plays. He’s got a calming presence to him. I like our mix. Now we got to prove it every day. I can like our mix as much as I want but we got to prove it every day. But I do like our mix. I like our group.”
The power play was 0-for-20 before Datsyuk’s PPG in overtime, glad to see them score?
“I think it’s good. I’ll be honest, when I watched the game against Colorado, we had four big-time chances that we didn’t score on. The rest of it wasn’t good enough, certainly in the last stretch it hadn’t been good enough, but the power play needs to score just like a player does so it’s a big goal we scored.”
What do you think of the job you did tonight?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.78 | Sv%: .909
“They’re a highly skilled team throughout their lineup and we were able to get the job done in overtime.”
What did you think of Datsyuk’s overtime goal?
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s been a long time coming and it was great to see Pav score that goal because these points are huge right now for us.”
How big was it for you to weather the early barrage in the first period?
“Each game’s different but it definitely helps when they come out and you feel the puck early and it sort of relaxes you a little bit and it and you go about your business.”
Do you feel that tonight was another step building on game against the New York Rangers?
“I felt like it was coming for a while. I’m just happy I was able to be out there and get two points for the guys.”
What about the goals scored by Athanasiou?
“It was great. He used his speed and you definitely saw his skill come out there on the second goal. It’s great to see all these young guys in our lineup stepping up.”
How good is it to see that even at 37 years old Datsyuk still has it?
‘He’s still got a lot of life in him. He still acts like he’s in his 20s. He’s got great sense of humor and it’s no surprise. We see it night in and night out, how hard Pav works and when he comes through for us, but it’s no surprise for us because he’s so gifted.”
The last few weeks, do you feel that your game has been coming back?
“I felt it before that. Just some bounces didn’t go my way. You stick with it.”
So you’ve felt good, kept working hard, kept the confidence?
“You had to figure sooner or later some of the puck luck was going to change a little bit. It has and I just think it comes with the hard work you put in as a player day in and day out.”
The Blackhawks come to Detroit on Wednesday, what challenge will they be?
“It’s another big one for us. They’re a team that’s a measuring stick throughout the league with the success they’ve had in the past several years. It’s going to be another tall task. We’ll enjoy this one tonight against a very strong team and we’ll move on tomorrow and Wednesday morning and get ready for Chicago.”
Interesting to see the Blackhawks after adding players before the trade deadline?
“Isn’t it amazing how they keep adding players. They got some special way there. They definitely made their team stronger with the additions they made. We’re a good team as well. If we go out there and play our game and continue to pay attention to details and not turn pucks over in soft areas I think we’ll be all right.”
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.