The two-man advantage took it out of you?
CENTER - DET
Goals: 13 | Assists: 32 | Pts: 45
Shots: 185 | +/-: -8
"Yeah, it did. Two 5-on-3s back to back doesn't help your cause."
How much of it had to do with getting down two early and playing catch-up hockey?
"Well, I thought both teams were playing a little sloppy from the beginning. We gave each other some easy chances. They scored on them, we didn't. We were down two but I felt we were in the game. We scored those two goals and we were humming and then we got four penalties in a row."
What hurt more, the power-play goal at the end of the second or scoring 30 seconds into the third?
"Both are killers. Five-on-three, we can't really say that much if they score five-on-three. That early one in the third really kills the game."
How deflating to give up goals early in the period?
"It doesn't help your cause when that happens."
They had a lot of shots early, did you feel the team was ready to go?
"Shots is shots. If you look at scoring chances, I thought it was pretty even."
What about your opportunities so far?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 1
Shots: 11 | +/-: -1
"Yeah, chances are there. Obviously the post again in the first period, then the backhand at the end of the game. I just need to keep pushing."
Do you feel snake-bit at all?
"A little bit. Obviously in the perfect world, it would have been in my first game but that's not happening. I just need to keep pushing."
Talk about your first NHL assist?
"I just chipped it off the board, Datsyuk pushed the pace, tapped it back to Helmer, Helmer used his speed. I think it went five-hole so great play all around."
What was the difference between Saturday night and this one?
"Obviously we took too many penalties. We were shorthanded a lot, in the second period especially. It's hard to bounce back when they've got 5-on-3s and 5-on-4s. But we need to be ready for next game. Obviously we need to get that two points next game."
Did you feel the momentum switch when you went down 3-2?
"Obviously, we were trying to push, trying to get that next goal. The boys were all in it. Tonight, like I said, the penalties kind of screwed us over a little bit."
How deflating are those quick goals to start the period?
"They're hard to play against. It's hard to bounce back from a goal early on but obviously we need to bounce back and we need to be ready."
How much are you looking forward to playing Montreal?
"Oh, for sure. I've been waiting for that day a long time. It's coming next game and I just hope we can bounce back and get that two points."
Did the goalie change give the team a boost?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.24 | Sv%: .923
"We try and change something. Put me in. That’s all."
How damaging were the penalties?
"It was 3-2 in the second period, I think it affect their game a lot. They scored on 5-on-3 and then had a 5-on-3, a 5-on-4 for two minutes. It was hard after that."
That fifth goal was really deflating?
"Of course, doesn’t help the team when they score right after power play. I think we killed penalty really well in the beginning of the third period and after that they scored a quick one. It doesn’t help at all."
There was not much support from the defense?
"Tampa, they have fast guys, they have speed in the neutral zone. We had to slow them down a little bit."
How did you feel?
"Yeah, I felt pretty good."
What was the sense on the team when you cut it to 3-2?
"We were down 3-0 and then we scored two quick goals and we were back in the game."
How about going home for next few games?
"Those three games at home, they’re going to be important for us. It starts Thursday."
What are your thoughts on the four-game trip?
"I think guys played well in Columbus and in Florida. Huge four points but we wanted to win today. It couldn’t happen."
What did you think about the start?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.84 | Sv%: .907
"It's tough. We've said it before, it's tough in this league to be playing from behind and digging yourself out of a hole. That's what we had to do tonight. Taking those penalties late in the second turned over the momentum."
How disappointing after Saturday's big rally?
"They're a good team. You've got to give them credit. They came out and they're flying from the start. When you give them opportunities they're going to bury them."
Did you sense that the guys were ready to go?
"I thought so, I thought the mood in the dressing room before the game was good, warm-ups was good. I thought everything was just going to fall into place out there but apparently not."
The third goal was just a bad bounce?
"Yeah, the puck hit his skate and just went up under the bar."
How great is the sense of urgency in here?
"It's got to come from within here. There's no one . . . there's not going to be any knight in shining armor that comes over the fence here and through the door that's going to get the job done for us. It's got come from within here."
It seemed like they swarmed you guys in your zone from the start?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 18 | Assists: 23 | Pts: 41
Shots: 141 | +/-: -9
"They always come out flying in this building and it's always tough to spot them a few goals right away. I thought we battled back and then obviously got in some penalty trouble and they got that fourth goal and that kind of put us back on our heels. Starts are big in this league. You've got to come prepared and ready to go on time. I don't think it was a terrible first period by us but just we've got to make sure we keep goals out of our net and try to limit our mistakes and turnovers."
It seems like slow starts have been the trend down the stretch?
"I don't know if it's slow starts. Some periods we've been pretty good we've just been down goals. We've got to find ways to keep pucks out of our net. Playing catch-up hockey is losing hockey. It's too hard in this league to come back against good teams. As much as we can we've got to limit our turnovers and keep breakdowns from happening. It was tough. That goal that Howie thought he had between his pads and they come in and knock it in. We had one go off a skate and in and then a five-on-three. We've got to go out there and create our own breaks, force the refs to get us on the power play a bit. It's always tough when you're killing as much as we did tonight. The five-on-threes are tough. We've just got to work together. Obviously it's nice we're playing Thursday so we can learn from this game. We've got to move past it quick because these are important games, this nine-game stretch."
Were the penalties you took a product of their game forcing you or are you just making bad choices?
"You've got to be careful. Stick penalties – slashing, cross-checking – with refs, you never know what they're going to call. You've got to keep sticks down. Offensively we can do a better job and keep getting better at hanging on to pucks. I thought we did a better job of that at times during the game but it's tough to give up some of the goals we did and to play from behind."
You've been in desperation mode for a while but how key is the three-game homestand coming up?
"We're just looking at it as one game at a time. We're not looking at it as a three-game homestand, or road games. We're focused on Montreal. It's two big points at hand. We've just got to go out there and we've obviously been comfortable at home, so we've just got to come out and play well. Montreal has nothing to lose so they're just going to come out and a little looser. They always play us hard. It's a big game for us."
Blashill shook things up with the goaltending change. Did you sense it had any effect on you guys?
"I don't know. Obviously we scored the next goal. Obviously it wasn't Howie's fault. Howie played well. Sometimes you just want to change momentum. Maybe it worked because we got the next two goals. I thought the game was kind of turned in our favour there but we took a few penalties and they scored on the five-on-three. Just try to stay out of the box. We did some good things tonight, we've just got to do a better job of sorting things out in our own zone and keeping pucks out of our net."
|Darren Helm's second-period goal trimmed Tampa Bay's lead to 3-2 but Detroit never got any closer to the Lightning on Tuesday night. (Photo by Getty Images) |
How much did the penalties sap momentum after scoring twice?
"I thought the first penalty that put us down five on four, we got running around in our end a little bit so we were scrambling a little bit and I think eventually you’re going to end up with a call and it was a good tripping call there. The second one, I didn’t really like the call. I thought that play happens a lot. But that’s part of hockey, you got to a deal with it and do a good job killing it and unfortunately we didn’t."
What were your thoughts on the game overall?
"Not good enough. I thought we came out fine but we talked about not giving up any free chances and we gave up free chances for two goals, so you can’t give up free goals like that. They’re going to create enough on their own, they certainly created some on their own. You can’t end up giving those free type looks."
How deflating is it giving up early goals in each period?
"We’ve had to play from behind too much, so that’s a hard thing. I thought we were really coming at 3-2 and they got the fourth one, that’s a hard one. And certainly the fifth one is a bit of a dagger at that point. Certainly, I think there’s ebbs and flows and momentum of a hockey game. I thought we came out, we were fine, we had decent momentum, we gave up two goals and lost the momentum, gained it back and then unfortunately we gave up that fourth goal."
Did their quickness put your D on its heels for a good chunk of the game?
"First of all they’re a good team, so they do lots of things well and they can make plays out of nothing, but I thought on a couple of them it (quickness) didn’t really have much to do with it, I thought it was more us not playing to the top of our game."
Was the goalie change more about momentum?
"One hundred percent. It was a momentum switch for sure. It was 3-0 early. The goal happened early in the second, I just thought, the goal going in off a skate wasn’t his fault, the first one is a breakaway and the second one is a fluke play, so it was totally about switching momentum. You’re trying what you can to get momentum going your way at that point."
You now have three games at home?
"We have to win hockey games. It starts Thursday. We have to win a hockey game. We don’t have many left so we better come ready to play and certainly take advantage of our home ice. I think we’ve done a good job of that in the second half of the year overall. We have to be a real good home ice team here in this stretch."
What about the start issues, good chances, but it's the other team that scores?
"You can’t give up goals early. The first four or five shifts were fine, but then we give up a free look, you can’t give up free looks. You have to find a way. You can’t give up five or six goals in a game and expect to win and you can’t give up free looks early and expect to win so we have to make sure tighter than that."
What did you think of Mantha?
"I thought Mantha play pretty well. I thought E did a good job. He’s in a good spot with Pavel. He brings a big body and he brings a skill set. You saw him motoring up the left side there and opened some ice for Pavel in the third there. He’s continued to play well."
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.