What are your thoughts on this one tonight?
CENTER - DET
Goals: 13 | Assists: 35 | Pts: 48
Shots: 209 | +/-: -15
“It’s two points that we wanted here tonight. We got two big points yesterday and another two today.”
Do you like the improvements made by the defense?
“I think we’re playing a little tighter.”
What do you think of all these one-goal games?
“We’ve been through this the last month, so the more you play in those situations the more used to it you get and the better you play.”
Did you like to see the defensemen getting active offensively?
“Q and Greener are big players and we’re good when the D are involved. We have defensemen who jump up in the play and be really active.”
Is delivering the puck to net the biggest difference in the power plays success in the last couple weeks?
“Yeah, I think so. But we also have had a little puck luck, too. When we went through that tough stretch, we tried to throw pucks in there but they got the rebounds. Now we’re getting rebounds. It’s nice to see and hopefully it continues.”
What is the team’s mindset heading into the final week of the season?
“Mindset is Philly on Wednesday.”
Does it help in these last three games knowing you’re in possession of a playoff spot and it’s yours to lose?
“Well, we’re in it until tomorrow. We knew that we had it in our own hands for the last week, so if we took care of business and win games we’d be in, just because we’re playing teams that are battling for those spots. But until we play them we have to win games, so those games matter. We done that now and now we just had a nice day off tomorrow and regroup on Monday.”
What did you think of the job Howard did?
“We all believe in our goalies, both Petr and Howie. Howie now has come up and played real huge for us, played with a lot of confidence and that confidence spreads around the team.
“We got to play solid hockey, minimize our mistakes and be in games. Have good starts and build from that. We’ve done it before but we’re not there yet. Now we just want to play good on Wednesday.”
What pleases you most about this win tonight?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.81 | Sv%: .906
“Getting two points, that’s all that matters. At this point in time is just continue to go out there and find a way to get points.”
This is the team’s 46th one-goal game of the season, how have games like this paid off?
“You don’t get nervous towards the end. You know, being on a lot of them and you know you can come out on top and you know it’s just good right now that we’re collecting points.”
How difficult are the Leafs to play against?
“Well, they don’t stop. It’s a typical Babs’ team, they’re gonna play until the final buzzer and no matter what the score is. So they’re gonna keep on coming and you just got to find a way to play offense against them.”
How much does it help know that if you win out you’re in the playoffs?
“Yeah, I guess I haven’t given it much thought along those lines but you know it feels good. We can enjoy this now for the flight home and then get ready for Philly on Wednesday.”
Was the team defense the most satisfying thing about wins on back-to-back nights?
“We really dialed in on that. It was one of the issues there in Montreal and we wanted to get back to playing basic, simple hockey in our own end. A lot of that was just eliminating turnovers at our blue line and you know getting the puck out.”
How did you feel playing on back-to-back nights?
“I felt great.”
You get wins on back-to-back nights and now have to wait until Wednesday, do you wish you could keep the momentum going?
“Yes and now. It’s also nice at this time of the year, you know rest is key. So it will be nice to have the day off tomorrow and relax with the boys; relax as much as I can with the boys. Just get the opportunity to get a way.”
How personally satisfying is this knowing the kind of work you put in?
“You know, it’s just fun being out there competing for the guys, just being back out there and knowing what’s on the line and being in the trenches with the guys. It’s just a lot of fun. That’s why you play the game.”
Do you feel that you’re playing your best hockey now?
“I feel really good. I feel all the hard work with Jim Bedard is paying off. I’m just thankful to have the opportunity and sort of have the ball and run with it a little bit.”
How tough was it to watch most of the games in January and February?
“Well, that is what I drew and Petr was playing lights out so you really can’t complain about that. You gotta just put in your hours and put in your time, and that’s what I did.”
How much does it help when guys like you score?
Defense - DET
Goals: 3 | Assists: 6 | Pts: 9
Shots: 58 | +/-: -1
“Guys like me? What does that mean?”
When defensemen score?
“That’s a bonus, for sure.”
What did you see from the Leafs?
“Kind of what we expected. They play a very good, sound system game, you know a typical Babs’ team. We knew they were going to play like that and I think we did a good job of just playing simple and burying our chances when we got them.”
Was that the key to both of these last two wins?
“We knew exactly what was going to happen tonight, how they were going to play. We knew we weren’t going to get many chances but I think we did a good job of burying them when we did.”
Have you shown a little bit of character last two games?
“I think we’ve beared down a little bit more in these couple of games for sure.”
What did you think of Howard’s play?
“We really need him right now and he’s doing a good job for us. It’s huge.”
|Mike Green celebrates his first-period goal with rookie Andreas Athanasiou that gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead over the Maple Leafs. (Photo by Getty Images) |
What did you like tonight?
“First the result. Second I thought we did a good job in our start. I thought our first period was good. I liked the fact that we made it a two-goal cushion in the third. That allows you to make a mistake late and still win the hockey game. We haven’t done enough of that this year. But I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”
What did you think of Howard?
“I just though he looked really solid. I thought he looked in control of himself. I thought he made saves at times look easy. His rebound control was good. When there were rebounds he was in the cage to battle for pucks. So I thought he did a real good job.”
Is he starting to look like the guy who started the season strong?
“Well, he looks like he’s got lots of confidence, sure, and you know whether it’s early season Jimmy Howard, whether it’s when I was here as an assistant he was an All-Star in the NHL, he looks like he’s got lots of confidence. He’s got real control of his body and doing a real good job making first saves and putting himself in position to make second saves.”
Does it say something about him that he never went mentally down after his rough patch?
“What he did was he went to work. There’s no substitute for work and he went to work with Jimmy Bedard and they worked on getting his game in the best spot possible. I’ve talked about confidence, confidence from knowing you have the skill set to succeed and you the work in to succeed. He put the work in to make sure he gave himself that confidence.”
Did you like seeing the defensemen jumping up in play?
“We’ve done a fairly good job of that throughout the season. Certainly as the season’s went along I think we’ve gotten better at that, trying to create offense without too much risk and I thought good job by Q jumping up in the play there.”
How important were faceoff wins tonight?
“It’s an important part of the game and anytime we can have the puck on our stick to start it’s important. Anytime in the D zone you win the faceoff it gives you a better chance to get out of your zone and obviously anytime in the offensive zone it gives you a chance to create some offense so it’s important.”
The importance of this win?
“We knew we had to win games, whether Philly won or didn’t win we gotta win hockey games. We wanted to come into this weekend and win two to put ourselves into position where next Wednesday’s game matters and next Wednesday’s game is going to matter regardless of what Philly does. So let’s get ready to play Wednesday.”
What are your overall thoughts on the last couple games?
“Overall we’re playing pretty good defense. That’s something we talked about that I absolutely still believed going into this weekend, that we can be a team that plays real good defense and can create offense still. I thought we did that overall, obviously tonight not as good as last night. I thought last night we were excellent. Tonight when we did break down Jimmy was good so I think doing a real good job of playing D and doing a good job of winning hockey games. It certainly breeds confidence.”
You have Datsyuk playing lots of minutes lately, what goes into that decision?
“The one thing obviously I gotta manage in the back to backs is minutes and Datsyuk, Zetterberg they played lots of minutes so even with Pavel being out for a little bit last night when he got high sticked, I think leaning on those guys in the end we’re going to win and lose with our top guys playing a lot of minutes and he’s certainly one of our top players. Both him and Zetterberg know how to play as the game gets late. How the game’s gone they continue to play the right way and they certainly do a good job leading by example.”
DetroitRedWings.com managing editor Bill Roose contributed to this report.