Did the physical tone that you were a part of get the Wings going a little tonight?
Defense - DET
Goals: 3 | Assists: 12 | Pts: 15
Shots: 82 | +/-: 3
“I thought we were playing pretty good from the get go but sometimes that sparks the boys and I’m glad he (Stefen Matteau) was out there at the end and he was playing, so it wasn’t too bad. But, I mean, if you watched, I never intended to hurt him but just play hard, play my game.”
Did you see a replay of the hit?
“Yeah, yeah, I saw it when I was in the box, so I thought it was clean. Other people, it’s everybody’s opinion but he was put in a tough position with kind of a silly pass but I mean, he’s a big boy and he comes out and he’s tough, so I respect that.”
It was entirely too interesting there in the third period, wasn’t it?
“I thought we played well the first two; wasn’t happy with how things kind of went. I thought we did some good things in the third but ultimately we gotta make sure the puck doesn’t end up in the back of ours. So there’s some things we have to tighten up and play better. I can’t remember the last time we had a lead going into the third, so something we have to work on and play a little bit better with. So that’s what we’ll go to the drawing board with.”
Now that you’ve had a lead you can recall what it’s like to be in that situation?
“Yeah, so there’s things that we’re gonna have to do a little bit better and make sure we make stronger plays. I think the biggest thing is you can’t take your foot off the gas pedal. You have to keep playing your game. You can’t change that or teams take advantage of that and that’s something that we’re gonna get together and kind of correct.”
These feel like playoff games, don’t they?
“They’re all playoff games so me. I mean, we were in this two years ago where we pretty much had to win eight or nine of the 10 (remaining games) and so we’ve seen it. I actually think we’re in a better position than we were then, so we know it’s up to us and I’ve talked other people about it. It’s in our hands, so the better we play, the more points we can get we’ll secure a playoff spot.”
Mantha scored his first career goal tonight, how memorably is that first one for an NHL player?
“It’s great. I still remember mine against Minnesota. It’s something that you’ll always take. It’s your first one, even if it is greasy like mine was really greasy that it’s still my favorite goal. So it’s a good feeling. He’ll take it forever and I’m excited that he was able to get it against Montreal too, hometown, so that’s pretty cool. He had all his family, and I guess his grandfather (Andre Pronovost) here, so you know what, that’s a pretty cool thing. If’ you’ve been watching him he’s made some great plays and he’s had great chances and it’s gonna happen and it was nice that it happened against Montreal.”
When you're up 4-0, is the feeling, OK, this is how we can play?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.26 | Sv%: .922
"We have to play 60 minutes. We knew it was going to be a battle in the third period. They scored two goals that were weird bounces that get them back into the game. But huge two points at the end."
Are you consoled a little bit that two of those were a little bit fluky?
"The first one, it hit in my stomach actually, the middle, and hit my piece of glove and went over me. Then the third goal, it hit Kronner's skate so those goals sometimes when they throw the puck at the net happen."
How do you go from facing three shots to they're all over you?
"You have to be ready all 60 minutes. The first period was good, I had 13 or 14 shots there, I was in the game. You're trying to battle hard in the second when you don't have as many shots."
Is this a good example for the team that you can't let up?
"Yeah, we have to learn from that and go forward. When we're winning, we have to play smarter."
Is it a concern that they found their way back into this one?
"They found a way how to come back to the game but in the end it doesn't matter. You got two points and nobody's going to ask you in a couple days how you win the game."
When did you find out Boston lost?
"Yeah, after the game, (someone) said that Boston lost so we're one point behind. We have a big game Saturday."
How nice was it to get out to 4-0 lead tonight?
Center - DET
Goals: 11 | Assists: 9 | Pts: 20
Shots: 116 | +/-: -11
“I think we did a good job in the first and second and kind of scared ourselves there in the third, but I thought we did a good job playing through it, battling through adversity. Every game is important for us now. You can tell how close the standings are so this was a huge win.”
What said on bench as Montreal made its comeback?
“We just had to calm down. We knew what we had to do. We did a good job in the first and second. We just kind of left our foot off the gas. We did a good job of recovering.”
How nice was it to get two goals after having such a long goal-scoring drought?
“I don’t know, just some good plays from my teammates. Just tried to get to the net-front on that first one, it was a great play by Pavel and Mantha there so just some puck luck and a little extra desire to get in front of the net.”
Has this team been missing some of the puck luck lately?
“I don’t know. It’s tough to put a finger on it. We’ve been pulling off wins lately, expect for a few hiccups I think we’re doing a good job.”
Was tonight an example of how to step forward for team along with the need to keep the foot on pedal with a lead?
“For sure. Every team is so good. They all have players that compete. You can just tell exactly what happened, up 4-nothing and they didn’t back down. They did a good job. It’s going to be like that down the stretch. We just have to do a better job of staying composed.”
Mantha scored his first career goal, how happy were you for him with his family here?
“It’s awesome. You always like seeing that. Every guy remembers his first goal and the memory for it. It’s good that Mantha got that. He’s been doing great for us. We’re all really happy for him.”
How was relief was there to finally see zeroes on the clock?
“It’s definitely a nice feeling. It’s a big win. We just have to keep that going to Saturday.”
Did you know that Boston loss, meaning you’re one point behind the Bruins for third in the division?
“Like I said, everything is so close. You win one game and another team loses and you’re right back in it with them. It’s a race. We’re just going to keep track of what those other teams are doing, but worry about us first.”
What relief comes from scoring your first goal, as Mantha did tonight?
“It feels good. Mantha’s been playing great for us. I don’t think he was really worried about it. I think once one goes in you can start rolling and hopefully get a little streak going.”
You spoke of getting to net this morning, is that what happened on your first goal?
“It’s kind of what you try to do each and every game. Each team does a good job boxing out so you really have to battle to get there. Our D did a great job getting the puck to the net and it was a good chance.”
How about your first goal being a game winner?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 2
Shots: 14 | +/-: E
"It's an incredible feeling. I didn't think it was going to be a game winner at first but we had to battle through that third period and ended up winning the game so it's huge."
How about about getting that goal in front of your family and friends?
"It's unbelievable. Obviously my grandparents were very happy, my parents also. My friends were probably jumping. One of my buddies told me he was going to go around the rink screaming if I scored."
That was a nice rebound there for you. Was that your reward for going to the net?
"It's a greasy goal, as we say. The first one wasn't going to be pretty. I had to battle my way through and that rebound was perfect. I just had to tap it in."
Did the goal allow you to relax a little more?
"For sure. You think a lot about it. Even in the first period when I came wide and took a shot. You always think about it, where to place the puck. Now that it's gone in I think it's just going to feel more natural."
Is there a place of prominence in mind for the puck?
"Nope, not really. I was just aiming for the entire net."
No, the puck itself. Got a mantle at home to place it?
"No, I think they are building something right now with the stick and the puck. We'll just see how it ends up and probably bring it back home to Montreal and put it up in my room or something."
What did you learn about this team in the third period?
"Three great blocks, one from Abby at the end there. Obviously Montreal came on strong there in the third period. We just had to battle even harder than they did."
You probably couldn't have planned the scenario for your first goal any better?
"It's a great feeling. I kind of had a feeling that the hockey gods were going to reward me after getting high-sticked twice in the first and second periods. I just had to battle my way through and they did. It was just a great goal."
How about the importance of getting two points?
"It's big, especially that Boston lost. We're one point in back of them. Right now we need to keep battling and go for the next game."
|Riley Sheahan, who scored two goals in the previous 30 games, scored twice Thursday to help the Red Wings to a 4-3 win over Montreal at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings) |
What are your general thoughts about tonight?
“I thought that particular power play that Mantha scored on was a real good job first by Larks of having poise on the weak side, there was nothing there and he went back to the top and gave it to Richie and Richie attacked, we shot the puck. We got to make sure we continue to attack. Mantha’s got good hands in tight areas and he’s a big body, so that was great. And I thought Sheahan had lots of jump, he played real well, so we need as much scoring from different people as we can.”
What about the third-period meltdown?
“You want to go out and salt the game away and go shift and shift and not give them any life and unfortunately they scored right away and that gives them life and then they got another one and the next thing you know there’s lots of life. We got to be better than that in the third. There’s no question about it. I didn’t love our first, I really liked our second and I certainly didn’t like our third. We’ve got better hockey in us and we got to play better come Saturday.”
Was the coach’s challenge after third goal just a reason to give your team a timeout?
“I was calling a timeout, so I thought might as well challenge and see. One way or another it was going to be a timeout, so why not just call a timeout.”
What did you think about Mantha getting rewarded after generating chances in his first few games?
“We talked about getting chances and as I said this morning if you get chances over and over again and you’re a guy with ability you’re going to score. It was great that he was rewarded, it should give him lots of confidence.”
What are the importance of getting those net-front goals?
“I think we’ve scored a lot more of those here recently. We’ve done a better job having net presence, we’ve done a better job of getting pucks to the net. We had lots of shots tonight. We got to continue getting bodies to the net and pucks to the net as much as possible.”
Do you think the coach’s challenge slowed the Canadiens’ momentum?
“For me I was sitting there and thought it was the right time to call a timeout. I looked, there was a little contact, let’s see what they see and how from there.”
What's your reaction to Boston losing?
"Honestly, I'm just focused on us winning hockey games. We got to win hockey games, period. There'll be lots of other tough games for other teams but we have to win hockey games. We have to earn our way in and to do that you've got to win, so let's go take this win and then go Saturday and try to win a hockey game Saturday."
How much will Mantha use that first goal as a springboard?
"I think when you score your first one, it's certainly a weight off your shoulders. He's been playing well and getting chances and when they're not going in, you can start squeezing it, so it was good for him for it to go in. I think it'll help him. He doesn't get too uptight but anybody, you're going to gain confidence from scoring."
Is it another good learning experience, having a lead to start the third and holding on?
"The thing about all this stuff is you better learn from it and get better, there's no question. I can think back to lots of experiences I've had with coaching teams where bad things happened and later in the year when you're facing similar situations, you've learned from it and gotten better. That's the No. 1 thing, so let's learn from it. We've got better hockey in us, let's play better on Saturday for a complete 60 minutes."
The Penguins had their six-game win streak snapped, what do you expect Saturday?
"I heard they lost but my biggest thing is we're going to have to come play great hockey. They're playing great hockey and they're a real good hockey team. I know when we're playing the right way, we're a real good hockey team so let's go play great hockey and give ourselves the best chance to win."
So many games have been so tight, was the 4-0 lead odd?
"It's hard for me to say because they scored so quick I couldn't tell what our mind frame was going in. I think that there's a little human nature involved. We tried to do everything we could to make sure we didn't have that happen. But when they score on the first shift, you want to get to that first timeout without them scoring and then you know you're in a good spot. We've got to be better than that and let's learn from it."
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.