Your team has been on a nice roll, what went wrong today?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 12 | Assists: 29 | Pts: 41
Shots: 133 | +/-: 5
"I think they came out a little faster than we did today. But we worked ourselves into the game. They're a tough team to play against when they get the lead and they parked their butts in front of the goalie and it's tough to get pucks through and get any quality chances."
You had beaten the Islanders the last two times and it's always tough to sweep a team?
"Yeah, it is tough to do that in this league, even though we sure had a chance. I thought when when we got our first goal, we had some momentum going there and had some good chances right after but then they got the fourth one and that basically kills the game."
How did you feel after scoreless first period?
"I thought we got our legs when we went into the second and I thought we started to play a little bit better. But it wasn't enough today."
What did you see from Howard today?
"I thought he played well. He made some key saves, two, three breakaways that he stopped and he definitely gave us a chance to win."
It hurts the team if you can't get both goalies going, right?
"It's tough to have two goalies going, too. One has to play a little bit more but it's nice to have two goalies when we really need it."
You had been playing very good defense but now have allowed nine goals the last two games, what do you see going on?
"Well, if you scratch the last game. It was tough goals today. A few mental mistakes but that will happen in the course of a season and we've just got to make sure that we keep playing the way we want to, minimize the turnovers and we will be fine."
You're used to back-to-backs but this one is particularly quick?
"It's not optimal but it is what it is. I thought we got in here at a decent time yesterday and got enough sleep for this morning but you're right, it is a short turnaround."
What have you seen from Datsyuk of late?
"You see Pavel Datsyuk. I don't think anyone is surprised. He's playing the way he always has been. Even though he gets older in age, he keeps playing the way he always has. Looking back on my career, he's probably going to be the player that I'm most proud of playing with. We've had a lot of fun together."
Datsyuk just needed time to recover from the surgery?
"There is, probably got the chance to play the way he wants to, get into the game a little bit more. When he gets that groove and enjoys playing, he's dangerous. That's why he has a lot of fun right now."
What are your thoughts on this game?
RIGHT Wing - DET
Goals: 14 | Assists: 17 | Pts: 31
Shots: 105 | +/-: -2
"I thought we had some good chances in the first. Unfortunately the puck didn't go in for us, Nyquist hit the post there, a few others. It's always big, especially on a back-to-back like this, to try to get that first goal and get the momentum. Once they scored and they got a couple quick ones, it's tough to catch up on these teams. Obviously the circumstances don't make it easy but we fought hard at times and just couldn't quite keep the puck out our net and get enough on them. I thought their goalie made some good saves when he had to. It would have been nice to get a power-play one there but it is what it is."
Your team doesn't make excuses but how did the legs feel?
"I felt pretty good. You're not going to feel like you're going to with an extra day's rest but you can't come up with excuses. Every team has to go through it at some point. I thought we came out and had a good first period. If we could somehow find a way to get that first goal, I think the game's a little different."
How much is there a feeling about giving Howard a chance to get back into the groove?
"We're doing our best, trying to get him a win here. I thought they made some good plays, Howie made some good saves when he had to, breakaway there, a couple kind of breakaways. He made some good saves and kept us in it there. There's no blame on him. We got to do a better job defensively, sorting things out and clearing rebounds for him."
How about Datsyuk as league's No. 1 star this past week?
"He's playing really well right now. He's finding the back of the net, which is huge. Anytime as a player, you score goals, no matter who you are in this league, you're going to be more confident. I think his confidence is really high and he's a driving part of our offense right now, which is positive."
Disappointing to play like this defensively?
"We made some mistakes, for sure. They capitalized on those. It's tough, down 2, 3-0, it's tough to come back on teams in this league. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a way to get that first one, I think maybe the tides turn a little bit if we do. The first period was good, I think the shots were even, 0-0, that's kind of a period you want after a back-to-back, kind of get your legs going."
How much of that game was how well they played and how much was your team not playing well?
LEFT WING - DET
Goals: 7 | Assists: 9 | Pts: 16
Shots: 109 | +/-: -2
“I think it was a little bit of both. Obviously, not our best effort. They’re a good team. They played us hard the first couple of periods and got up 3-nothing. Obviously it’s hard to come back from those types of leads. We needed to be a little bit more prepared for that game.”
On the road, score even after one period of play, did you feel good about that?
“Not bad. I knew we could have played a little harder in the second but things didn’t work out the way that we wanted to tonight and we’ve got to find ways to play better in these back to backs.”
Is defensive play an issue last couple of games?
“Just the last two. When you let in nine goals, that’s not the team that we want to be. One, two goals, maybe tops, is where we want to be and not giving them opportunities. We gave up way too many chances and second chances last night and tonight, so we’ve got to cut down on those.”
You’ve played lots of back to backs, but was this a little different with the two afternoon games, and actually less than 24 hours between games?
“No, I don’t know. Not personally. It’s kind of silly how they did set that up, though. You would have thought they would have given us a little more time. I don’t think anybody in this room is looking at that as an excuse. It felt like a normal one o’clock game.”
Did Pavel’s goal give you a spark?
“We have a few good shifts after Pav’s goal, but the fourth one hurt pretty good and kind of took the wheels out. You get that one and it’s a two-goal game and you’ve got some life. Then all of a sudden it’s back to a three-goal game with less time than you have before, so that was tough.”
Was the game-time transition difficult?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 14 | Assists: 17 | Pts: 31
Shots: 118 | +/-: -3
“I don’t think we skated good enough today. Coming off a big win yesterday, should be energized but I don’t think we were energized enough here coming into this building. Had a couple looks again on the power play but didn’t manage to score a goal there. So gotta be better.”
Down 3-nothing, was a comeback possible after yesterday?
“Yeah for sure. I thought we pushed a little bit there in the third, had a couple chances, managed to get a goal finally, 10 minutes left. Two goals down. Again created some chances but then they come back and score 4-1. I don’t think we had much after that.”
Was your team dealing with tired legs?
“It’s back to back but no excuse. Same for a lot of teams in this league. Sometimes you’re the team that’s playing the second game, sometimes you catch a team on their back to back. You just gotta be on your toes and be sure you’re ready to go anyway. So obviously didn’t do a good enough job today.”
How much was it them playing well and you not playing well?
Not taking away from them. They played a good home game for sure and we turned too many pucks over and … ”
What about the spark that Datsyuk’s goal provided in the third?
“Obviously really (ramping) up here and now producing. When he wasn’t producing as much as he has done lately he’s always a great player for us but that line, when they got put together, him and Hank seemed to have gotten some energy off of that and are finding each other and making plays out there. So that’s obviously great to see and I think that was huge for our homestand coming away with a 4-0-1 record. I think that’s thanks to that line a lot.”
What’s such a quick turnaround in between games like for players?
“Again, it is what it is. It’s the same for a lot of other teams. You know sometimes you catch a team on their second night and they haven’t had time to rest as much as they probably wanted to. You just gotta be strong mentally and find your legs early and be ready to go. I don’t think we were ready to go enough today.”
Were you awakened by the fire alarm at the hotel at 3:12 a.m.?
“Yeah, but managed to fall asleep pretty quick.”
Concerned that you’ve now allowed nine goals in the last two games?
“Yeah, I think yesterday’s game, if we’re honest, that was a pretty crazy game, a pretty wild game both ways and pucks seemed to find the nets there. It’s just one of those fluke games and obviously letting up five, I don’t think it really tells you the whole story of how we played at home. I thought we had a real good homestand and played real good hockey. But today, letting up four, that’s not good on the road. We gotta be better than that.”
|Jimmy Howard made this blocker save on John Tavares who had clear sailing after Danny DeKeyser's first-period giveaway in the neutral zone. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings) |
What did you think of the process today?
“I thought early on we were playing a pretty good road game. We weren’t giving up a bunch. Now, we had two areas where I thought we could be better. One, we had too many unforced errors, too many times where we turned pucks over, couple times in the first when we weren’t really under any pressure at all. We obviously took a penalty when we hoisted it over the glass. Things like that that ended up costing us a little bit. But I thought our approach was good. I thought early in the game we were playing a good road game on the second half of a back to back. I thought they gained momentum when they scored and we weren’t able to score on some of our chances. The other area we needed to do a better job of – and this might be more particular third – is shooting more pucks. We passed up too many shots and didn’t get enough bodies to the net.”
Was it tough getting on the inside against the Islanders?
“They do a good job of fronting shots. First of all, not enough got through. It was hard enough to get to the inside. But I think it’s hard to get on the inside every night. You got to have extra determination for sure. But I also thought we didn’t throw it in there enough to create chaos. We got to do a better job of that.”
What did you think of the job Howard did today?
“I thought Jimmy played good. I try to judge process. You can say four goals not good enough and we all want more saves, including him, but I thought he played good, he gave us a chance to win. Made a big save on a breakaway early (on John Tavares) in the game, I thought it was a big moment. If we score on some of those opportunities it could be a different game. Momentum in a game is big thing. So I thought Jimmy played good. Jimmy’s just got to keep focusing on playing good hockey. He can’t score more goals for us. It is what it is and he’s just got to play as good as he can.”
Is it a challenge to keep Howard in a positive frame of mind?
“Not in this particular case because he’s doing a good job himself. I think (goaltending coach) Jimmy Bedard and him … what Jimmy has decided is he’s just going to keep working. He’s going to keep his head up and keep working and keep getting better and keep making sure he puts himself in the best possible position and I thought he did that. He looked extremely prepared, just didn’t go his way tonight. Just got to keep grinding.”
The nine goals allowed in the last two games, is it a bit of a concern?
“We don’t want to keep that up. You got to be real good defensively. We’ll go back and look at scoring chances against. I can’t say we gave up that much more than we had in the previous number of games when we didn’t get scored on much. I think sometimes that happens. We want to continue to be as good as can defensively and as good as we can offensively and we’ll keep going to work in practice to do that.”
Is this back to back more challenging due to afternoon games and less than 24 hours between starts?
“For me, it’s the schedule and you play the schedule. When the schedule came out, we knew this was what it was. We’ve had these things all year, these situations with back to backs. I thought we put ourselves in a fine spot. If we score the first goal we give ourselves a little better chance to win. They score the first one and unfortunately got two and three. I thought anytime we scored it could change the flow and momentum and we weren’t able to. But we haven’t been in situations where I wasn’t happy with our effort or our approach. I was happy with our effort, happy with our approach. We just weren’t quite good enough tonight.”
Datsyuk is scoring more than he did earlier, did he just need time after coming back from ankle surgery?
“I think it was just a matter of time. I think he was getting lots of chances and I think we all know when Pav gets that many chances at the end he’s going to score. He was getting a little bit frustrated because he wasn’t scoring as much as he wanted to and my message to him was keep doing what you’re doing. I think that’s an important thing. Sometimes you just got to keep grinding and keep doing exactly what you’re doing. It’s similar to what I’m saying with Jimmy. And in the end he was able to score because he kept at it.”
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.