Special teams were a big factor in this one, do you think that was the deciding factor overall?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 10 | +/-: 3
“Yeah, if you see that they scored all three on the power play and we couldn’t score anything on our power play.”
With all of the power play chances, how discouraging has the lack of special-teams scoring been?
“It’s frustrating. We are instead of when we should pass we shoot. When we’re shooting we probably should have passed. They were blocking a lot of shots but we keep forcing pucks in there too, keep doing the same things over and over. So maybe we should start to think a little different.”
Did you think that Larkin would shoot from the slot there in the third period instead of making that pass to you down low?
“No, I was pretty sure that was coming to me.”
What’s more disappointing, you were able to fight back or just that the power play continues to struggle?
“The most frustrating is that we lost today. I thought we – five on five – played really well and they dominated special teams.”
One game at a team has been a Blashill cliché, but is it even more so now?
“Well, if you look at it, if we lose next game we’re out. So we can only look at one game ahead here.”
Were faceoff losses a problem for most of the night?
“You would probably know the stats so that’s probably a leading question, so yes.”
What are your thoughts on how Mrazek played tonight?
“He was solid. He made some big saves. He plays the puck really well, so you know, it’s hard for them to get pressure in our end when he plays the puck as well as he does.”
What did you think of the pressure that the Lightning were able to get in the attacking zone all night?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 1.53 | Sv%: .939
“Their power play was good tonight. We tried to eliminate those chances but you know, they scored three goals from it.”
What was going through your mind as the Lightning went on a relentless attack in the opening 10 minutes tonight?
“We knew they were gonna come hard after they lost last game so we were ready for that. They started pressuring hard in the first 10 minutes. After that I think we got back to the game.”
What makes Kucherov so difficult to defend against from the right faceoff circle in the attacking zone?
“He gotta good shot, we all know that and we have to just be smarter and don’t let him shot it from that point.”
Did you see Larkin’s backhand shot off the far post late in the third period that would have given you the lead?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pt: 1
Shots: 10 | +/-: 2
“It was a tight game. I thought we had some chances in the third, especially Larks off the crossbar or post or whatever it was. They got a power play and managed to score. That was the difference.”
The power play is 1-for-21 in this series, has the power play been a source of disappointment all season?
“The power play was the big difference. We’ve got to score more for sure and they managed to score three. Big difference in the game.
“The last month of the season it started doing good, scoring some goals but in the playoffs we haven’t had the same success so that’s something we’ve got to change for next.”
What was big difference tonight from Sunday when you won Game 3?
“There’s a lot of different factors. They came at us a little bit but we pushed back and managed to tie it up. It was an even game going into the third and they managed to get that goal. It’s a race to four (wins) so we’ve got to go in there and steal a game.”
You had momentum at the end of the second?
“Leaders kind of collected us in here and we came out with pretty good mind-set in the third, we pushed hard and created some chances. Couldn’t capitalize on our power play late in the game and they were able to.”
Is the power play contagious?
“It’s tough to say. We created some good opportunities. Larks had a real nice chance late in the third where it hit the post. The puck goes in maybe it’s a different game. It didn’t, so we just got to do better next game.”
How about the penalty kill?
“They’ve been doing a great job all season. They managed to make a few plays today. They were nice plays, those are going to go in sometimes. Just got to find a way to fight through.”
What were the adjustments you tried to make on the power play after Game 3?
“We changed some things up, not something I want to say here, so we’ll keep looking at it and try to do better for the next game.”
Why was there a lack of discipline?
“We took a few too many that we didn’t take last game, which helped us last game, so we got to be disciplined out there and manage our sticks.”
What is the key for Game 5?
“We played two good games down there. We played there a lot, it’s nothing new for us. We just got to go down there and steal a game and bring it home here again.”
How about the impact your goal had on the game at that time?
LEFT WING - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 8 | +/-: -1
"I think it got us back on track there for a little bit. It would have been nice to feed off that big second-period finish that we had, going into the third, it would have been nice if we kept that momentum going a little bit harder and thrown a few more pucks at the net and been able to score one. That didn't happen tonight."
When you look back at all the chances you had, what does it leave a team feeling?
"It sucks when you don't capitalize on those opportunities. We got a find a way to score on those chances. Bishop's a great goalie, we're not going to get most of the shots, the first efforts and you need a second and third effort to get it by this guy. It's tough. I thought we played well enough that we could have won this game but they played good as well so we just got to regroup and look at this next one."
An uphill battle, is it tough to not look at the bigger picture, just focus on the next game?
"Yeah, I think that's the most important way for us to look at the series right now. You got to stay alive, you've got to win one game, that's our main focus. Come out desperate, hungry, find a way to win any way possible."
The penalty kill had been so good, what happened tonight?
"They made a few adjustments and we couldn't find an answer for it. Obviously it's got to be way better than that. I think the PK lost the game for us. We take a lot of pride in that. It's a tough one when you give up three like that. We've got to be better, find a way to be better, find answers to that power play they got. They got lots of weapons and tonight they were able to click and score some goals."
There are still some questions about your power play?
"Yeah, we need to get that going as well. It's tough, we had three chances, we just didn't score. We just got to kind of keep feeding off the positives that we did on the PP and just find a way to get one on the PP, get rolling from there. We got a talented group on those squads so we just got to move the puck, get shots, get traffic, find some dirty goals."
What did you think of the start of the game?
"We knew they were going to respond in a strong way and that's what they did. They had that 10-minute push at the start of the first. I thought we had a pretty good response to that the last 10. But you can't give a team 10 good minutes in our zone, kind of letting them have fun. We've got to respond, come out strong the first 10, second 10, the rest of the game. We can't be letting teams kind of walk over us. Obviously they're a good team but we got to be a little bit more urgent and ready for starts of games."
How difficult is Kucherov to contain?
"He's been a weapon for them out there for sure. He definitely finds the soft spots, he's got a good shot and he's finding the scoresheet. I thought besides the power-play goals that he got today, I thought our guys that were playing against him did a good job, not giving him a lot of room out there. That's what we got to do 5-on-5, stay out of the box. I think we've got guys that can play with him. If we stay out of the box, I think he'll be a lot less effective."
What happened here tonight?
Center - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 1
Shots: 11 | +/-: E
“It’s obviously tough. I think special teams hurt us a little. Overall, I think it was a decent game but we didn’t come out with a win. Just one game, though, series isn’t over. It takes four games to win. We’re going to go back there and play hard.”
Do you feel like your backs are against the wall mentality?
“For sure, a lot of guys have played in pressure situations. It was a battle to get into the playoffs the last few years, so guys know when to come to play.”
What was your reaction after Larkin nearly scored there late in the third?
“It was close. Goal horn went off, the crowd cheered. We all thought it went in from the bench. It was an unfortunate bounce. Just got to put it behind us and come back tomorrow in practice.”
Has the power play hurt you all season?
“Not really. It’s been hot and cold. A lot of teams go through that. We just got to do a better effort of getting pucks to the net and creating second chances off one shot.”
How important is it that you stay out of the penalty box?
“They have so many skilled players, they’re dangerous on the power play. We definitely got to stay out of the box next game, work on a few things on the penalty kill and just bear down a little more and come back ready to play.”
Did you think the Lightning came out with more jump tonight than they had in Game 3?
“I don’t know. Yes and no. Last game we came out really hard and it wasn’t the same as that. I thought we showed a lot of intensity, we played hard, just didn’t get the bounce we wanted but we’re looking forward to the next game.”
What’s the approach now for Game 5 in Tampa?
“The same way we approached the game we won. We were all ready to play and I think our leaders did a good job of getting us ready to play. Obviously, it won’t be at home, so it’ll be a little different. We got to put that aside and just play hard.”
What did you think of the start?
Defense - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 1
Shots: 8 | +/-: 4
"We dug ourselves a bit of a hole but that second with eight seconds left was a big one for us. After that I felt it was pretty even."
Is there frustration with the power play?
"It’s one thing that can’t happen. They won the special teams battle tonight. It’s pretty easy to see. They came out and made some plays and we didn’t."
They punished you for your penalties tonight?
"There’s no doubt. I wish I had a good answer. I took another penalty tonight. We have to stay out of the box. It’s pretty simple. They’re a good team, very talented, very skilled. But in saying that, when we take our penalties our PK has to be better."
How do you create desperation for Game 5?
"It should be fairly simple. Either you win or you go home and the season’s over. We regroup, we have a look at the PK and see what we need to do better and the power play as well. We have to find something. We had a good chance there in the third but other than that we haven’t found ways to create momentum. There’s a little bit too much standing still."
What about the struggle for this team to find consistency from game to game?
"I believe in this group. I think everybody does. We feel like when we do it right, we can play with anybody. But it’s about doing it every night. Tonight, I thought it was a little too iffy at times. We have to be better."
How about the slow start?
"We definitely didn’t have the same jump as they did. They were more desperate, really."
Would you say you took too many penalties?
"Definitely. It’s easy to look back but they definitely killed us. There’s no doubt about that. I also think our PK has to be better than that."
Was there enough desperation?
"I thought we got going as we went along. We weren’t so great at the start but I thought we started to get going. The 2-2 goal was a big one and we’re back in it after that. I thought from then on it was a pretty even game."
What was the mood going into the third?
"It felt like we got some momentum coming off of that. I thought we had some puck possession in the third. We have to find a way to win."
What is the sense of frustration over the power play?
"You’ve just got to get back to work. Frustration’s not going to help you whatsoever. It’s back to the drawing board. Back to basics. Back to work."
How much do you look forward to the challenge of Game 5?
"It’s you win or you go home. We go down there and we’ve got to win a game."
What is the team’s mindset right now?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 3 | Pts: 3
Shots: 4 | +/-: 1
“We’ll watch the video of what we did wrong today and just focus. We’ll have a travel day. We have to fix the special teams for sure. Can’t let them score three and the power play has to score some. Special teams are real important this time of the year.”
Why was there a lack of discipline?
“We weren’t as good as the game goes, we had lots of penalties, we weren’t skating enough, that’s when the penalties came. They scored the goals. I figured at the end we took off, we played better, unfortunately we took a penalty again and they made us pay. We had power plays, too, we have to score at least 1-2 goals. We have to figure out, watch the videos and see what we’re doing.”
What was emphasis coming into the game regarding the power play?
“I think the problem was a little different than the game before. The game before we just couldn’t get shots through. Today, it seemed like we couldn’t really break in. I think as soon as we settle down in the zone and make the shots through, the power play will start to work because we have enough talent and good shooters here. We just have to establish in the zone and keep shooting pucks.”
What about the frustration of not being able to capitalize on opportunities?
“This game I felt I had more chances to score. It would be nice to help the team and put one in. I think we battled, the crowd got us going, we played good game. Unfortunately, we didn’t win. We’re still in the series. It’s going to be hard. But we have to battle.”
What was the feeling coming out in the third after tying it late in second?
“It was great. Riley Sheahan did a good job, nice pass and Gus scored nice goal. I think it was a lift and I think we felt really good. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way.”
Consistency has been a problem this season?
“You have to play 60 for sure, not 20, not 40., For some reason we had a little slower start but I think we could easily win this game. We just have to fix those specialty teams. I think we had pretty good effort. It’s 3-1, not 4-1, so we’re still alive and we’ll battle.”
What makes you think the power play will get better?
“Honestly, I don’t know. If I would know I would try to fix it. We have to do something. Right now specialty teams are deciding the games. Unfortunately, this year power play has struggled.”
Was there a good feeling after the second period?
LEFT WING - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 6 | +/-: -2
"Yeah, it was a good feeling. We went in and had a few goals so I think that late goal was big for us."
What does power play need to do to get going?
"I think they’re doing such a good job of blocking shots. They’re laying out. Sometimes when you’re shooting you have three bodies in front of you. We gotta maybe move the puck quicker and just funnel pucks to the net and get a few greasy goals."
Down 3-1 in the series now, does anybody say anything or do you let it settle and get back to work?
"You let it settle, I think. We had our backs against the wall in the regular season, the last month or so, and I think we pulled through then so we’re excited to get down to Tampa and play Game 5."
Was that a tough start?
"I wouldn’t say it was tough. They capitalized on a power play early. Once we settled in the second and had some big plays, Mrazek made some big saves, and we really settled in. I wouldn’t say they were all over us in the first period."
Is this an example of how special teams can break you in playoffs?
"I guess. The numbers don’t lie but I wouldn’t look into it that much. You played a majority of the game 5-on-5 and we had our chances. We had our power-play chances and I think once again a 3-2 loss could have went either way."
You had a good chance on the power play, what did you see when your backhand shot went off the far post?
"I knew it went off the post. I was thinking maybe it went off the back bar. I saw the lights come on so I thought maybe it did but I was right there so I didn’t really think it did. I beat the goalie and the post was there so I guess there’s not much more you can do."
|Gustav Nyquist's second-period goal was his first in the playoff since Game 4 last season against the Lightning. (Photo by Getty Images) |
I know we’ve talked about it a lot this season, the power play, what’d you see tonight from it and what adjustments were you hoping to come out of this game with?
“Well, we obviously lost the game on specialty teams, both the power play and penalty kill. Regarding the power play I thought we had too many unforced errors. I didn’t think we won enough pucks when they did pressure us. They did a good job not letting us set up and so you have to win those pucks. Once we got set up we didn’t do – in my opinion – a good enough job of finding a way of getting pucks to the net.”
There was so much emphasis going into the game on staying out of the box, but six minutes in you’re in the box and late in the game you’re in. They punished you over and over for it, why do you think there was such lack of discipline?
“How many kills did we have? Four or five? I wouldn’t say five is egregious but we would certainly like to stay out of the box more than that. The fact that they punish us for it is the thing I’m the most concerned about. The last penalty was a penalty that was taken because of a D-zone breakdown. We got to make sure we don’t take hooks. We got to make sure we don’t take easy ones, give the referees easy chances, but you are probably going to get three or four just the way games are called. We got to make sure we do a better job on the penalty kill and a better job on the power play.”
Drouin had three assists tonight. Can you talk about his playmaking ability and how much of a factor that was tonight?
“He looks like a good young player, especially on the power play. Looked like he was really able to do a good job making seam passes. From my perspective I’m way more focused on the fact that we allowed those seam passes to happen so we got to do a better job on our responsibilities.”
It didn’t look like you guys came out with the same jump that you had the other night for the first half of the game. Is that fair to say and why do you think that is?
“First of all we didn’t come out with the same jump. Now, I think they’d argue they came out with way more jump. I think both teams have something to say about it. I thought we were into the game. I thought we had opportunities to get pucks behind them that we didn’t get behind them. They did press forward hard so when they press forward hard they are either going to keep the puck in or we are going to get a rush. In Game 3 we were able to get a number of rushes early. We weren’t quite able to make the same plays. The plays were there to be made and we didn’t quite get them in behind them. I didn’t like us through large parts of the second, like the end obviously. Then I thought through the first part of the third we were pretty good. We did a real good job putting ourselves in position. We draw a penalty, we got to score on the power play.”
What did you do work on with power play on Monday that showed up in the game today, in particular with Drouin?
“When things aren’t going the way you like – and we didn’t have many chances to work on our PP – we decided to change up our units a bit. We decided to put the puck in the hands of the guys who know what to do with it and challenge them. We still need to work on our structure. We didn’t give our guys a day off and it paid off. You don’t expect to go 3-for-5 and at some point special teams is going to affect a series. And it did tonight.”
They rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to tie it up, which can be demoralizing in an important playoff game like this. Has being in so many playoff games last year helped you this time?
“There is no question that has helped us. I saw they scored with eight seconds left, but it was good to go to the room after that. We didn’t have to sit out there and the crowd couldn’t keep energizing them. They were in their room feeling confident, believing they were in control of this game. But this is a 60-minute game. We weren’t sitting here thinking, ‘We just gave up a goal, this things over.’ We knew that we have (gone) through this and it helps your mindset. It was good to talk it out.”
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.