Can you take us through your game-winning goal?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 17 | Assists: 19 | Pts: 36
Shots: 131 | +/-: -7
“Tats kind of came down 1 on 3 there, got the puck deep and I just tried to get on the forecheck as quick as I could. Great turnover, came to the point and cycled it back down and kind of caught them over pursing there, Pav in the corner and Tats was kind of moved down low and the puck came down to him. Then I moved up to support up high and then Tats made a good play to me. I was all alone so, yeah, just good forecheck pressure by us and it was nice to get that.”
How satisfying was this win given the last three games were regulation losses?
“Yeah, that’s a huge game for us, a huge win. Obviously we know what’s at stake, so those are two big points. It’s nice not to have to push that to overtime and shootout because sometimes that’s a flip of the coin. So win in regulation and to get this win, especially after being down 2-0 shows the character in this room, and we have a lot of fight in here.”
What was the feeling in the room after you went down 2-0 after the first period?
“Yeah, I think we knew we were starting to come. Just had to make sure we limited the turnovers and I think once we started grinding them in the O-zone and taking advantage of them down there I thought we really took the game over and just kind of used shift after shift to keep the momentum going. Got a goal there and then got us going a bit and Big E made a good play. It was a good shift prior to him scoring and I think that’s a good play by him obviously throwing it there out front off the skate. So just … we could have had a few more there. Petr came up big, made saves when he had to. But just overall, a really good win for us.”
Do you feel that you guys stood up to the Jets from a physical standpoint?
“No one needs to fight out here. Obviously they’re a bigger team but I think that’s what we talked about is just going out there and winning the one-on-one battles individually. It doesn’t matter the size of the guy. Just go out there and fight for that puck and win those battles and I thought we did a better job tonight. Obviously they’re trying to be physical and I think we can be physical all the way through our lineup so it was good to see.”
It would have been easy to quit after spotting the Jets a two-goal lead, does this win help show the leadership you have on this team?
“For sure, for sure. Anytime you’re going through a losing streak like that and you’re put behind the eight ball, and we haven’t been scoring a ton, so down two-nothing we just stuck with it. Like I said, Petr shut the door there for us and we kept coming and coming. It’s always big getting that first goal like we did and I think we had the momentum before that and just carried that throughout the rest of the game.”
How much of a lift was it to get a goal from Ericsson, who generally doesn’t score a lot?
“Yeah, it’s always big with the D contributing, and I thought they did a great job tonight of spreading the zone when we got the puck up to them. That particular play, kind of moving, D moving, and being active and getting open for the forwards as they come up the wall. Just all around good play by the guys and that’s when we’re successful when we’re spending time in the O-zone moving our feet and winning those one-on-one battles.”
How satisfying is it for you to draw penalties and generally get under the opponent’s skin?
“Yeah, that’s part of my game. I just go out there and play hard, you know, finish my checks, work hard in front of the net. Obviously it’s nice to draw some penalties but for me it’s just go out there and play a 200-foot game, be physical when I can. If I get under guys’ skin, great. Draw penalties is good too, so I just try to do my part and try to get us a win there.”
How big was that win for this team?
CENTER - DET
Goals: 12 | Assists: 30 | Pts: 42
Shots: 173 | +/-: -3
“It’s nice to get two points. It’s been a while. I thought we played an OK game. Second period only I thought we played really well. It was nice to see we got rewarded.”
How good was it to finally get a break like the turnover on Abdelkader’s game-winner?
“You always take the breaks when you get them. But it was nice. Now we know we’re in and it’s going to be a battle all the way to the end. Every point we can get is good and we got two tonight.”
How happy were you for Abdelkader on his goal?
“A game-winning goal at the Joe is pretty fun to score and especially in a game like this. I think everyone would be excited as Abby.”
Did tonight’s game feel like two different games?
“I think they just got two goals. We had our chances and we didn’t get our goals. Once we got them we got momentum on our side and we found a way. PK was very good today, kept us in the game. Petr was playing well so it was nice to see that we could pull one off.”
What did you think of the crazy final 1:45 of the game on the PK with you in the box?
“It was hard to watch from the penalty box. Obviously the guys did a great job. I think one off the post or crossbar, that was close but it was nice to see we found a way to win.”
How important was it for this team to respond after Tuesday’s loss in Columbus?
“I think the last three games, two of them have been playing pretty good. I thought it was a period and half there in Columbus we were bad. That will happen. Today we came out and played well again. We haven’t really gotten the points with us but tonight we did that.”
Is it easier to be pursued in the standings than to be the team doing the pursing?
“It’s easy to say that now when you’re in it. But we’ve been here before. Last four years, five years, we’ve been in this and we know how to do it. Just gotta start playing playoff hockey a little earlier and we’re doing that right now.”
How nice was it to see Larkin end a goal-scoring drought?
“It’s always nice to score when you haven’t seen the net in a while. I thought he’s been creating a lot of chances today. I think he could have one or two more but it was nice to see that he scores. He needs that.”
Larkin is the first Wings rookie with 20 goals since you. How difficult is it to reach that milestone as a rookie?
“It is hard. He’s been doing a great job even when it was tough, hasn’t gone his way. He’s been working hard and really doing the right thing so it’s nice to see that he got rewarded today.”
Where did you score your 20th goal as a rookie?
“I think it was in St. Louis.”
What do you remember most about your rookie season?
“I think what I remember is we exited pretty quick in the playoffs. That’s what I remember unfortunately.”
This team desperately needed that win, didn’t they?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.20 | Sv%: .924
“You’re right, we needed a game like that. We knew after the first period we were down but the game is 60 minutes and we have 40 minutes more to push hard. You could see in the second period we didn’t give them anything and we scored two goals.”
What changed in the second period for your team?
“We just have to continue to work hard and battle and do the things right and the goals are going to come.”
The Jets’ power play pushed hard in the final 1:45 of the third, what was it like from your perspective?
“We did a great job there, the penalty killers, they didn’t let them (get) anything, just the one post in the end. Sometimes the post goes in, sometimes it goes out. Lucky today it went out.”
How important was this game for yourself?
“Every game is different. I’m happy we got the two points, we got the win. We have to refresh it tomorrow and be ready for Saturday (against the New York Rangers).”
How important was it to match the physicality with a team like the Jets in a critical game like this?
“You have to be mentally strong and do things right and go get the win. That’s what we did today.”
The first period was not ideal but the second period was much better. What changed?
rIGHT WING - DET
Goals: 20 | Assists: 20 | Pts: 40
Shots: 172 | +/-: 19
“I think we used our speed. Our offense got going and we put them on their heels. We had a few big shifts where we really pinned them in their zone and we might have wore out their D. We were really playing a team game – our transition was good, our goaltending was good. We did a good job attacking.”
What does it mean to be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL?
“It’s pretty cool. It was a goal of mine coming into the year so … but for me it’s what’s next and maybe 25 (goals), so there’s always more. I want that for myself and for our team to be successful.”
What was the key for you when you weren’t scoring?
“I don’t think it was a cold spell, really. I think I was playing good hockey. There was just a lot of factors. I got a nice set up (from Abdelkader) and I was able to put it home. I don’t think I was playing terrible in the cold spell but it was nice to put that one away.”
What does it say about a team that fights back from 2-goal deficit?
“I think it’s huge. I think we’ve been talking a lot about urgency. It’s big for us to show that we can come back against a big, strong, fast team that (was) really playing well. It’s good for our team confidence.”
Did you maybe hit the rookie wall during your scoring drought?
“I don’t know. You guys watch the game. You guys saw. You can judge that. For me the biggest thing is contributing to the team. I’m trying to find a way to do that.”
What did you think of Abdelkader’s goal and the PK during the final 1:45?
“A huge goal by Abby to get us over the hump. That’s the kind of player he is, a big moment player. It’s good to see a guy who does everything for the team score a big goal like that. He’s also a part of that penalty kill and they did a great job. Petr made some big saves. It was pretty crazy and pretty nerve-wracking, but we got over it.”
|Drew Stafford had this first-period breakaway thwarted when he fell and lost control of the puck in front of Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings) |
That was easy, huh?
"I thought our guys showed unbelievable compete level, I thought our compete level was awesome. I actually thought we started the game good. We didn't score on the two power plays but I thought we started the game good. I thought our compete level was good. We took a step backwards when they got the breakaway on the penalty kill. We got through the kill but then obviously they scored. Then they scored the second one there and now you've got to dig yourself out of a hole. That's not an easy challenge but I thought our guys came out and played great the rest of the game. We talked about it being a 60-minute game and in the end we hung in there enough to win."
Abdelkader seemed to add a physical presence against a big, physical team?
"There's lots of ways that I think compete shows up and one is certainly physicality and Abby did that. One is just winning, sheer willing the puck out of the zone like Helmer did at the end. I just thought we had numerous guys with extraordinarily high compete level. As I said the other night, you asked me how does it change the next night and I talked about the fact that we have winners in our room. I thought we showed the type of character we have tonight. It's relentless, certainly we're going to have to find a way on Saturday, but I thought we showed great, great character tonight."
Did it get loud in the locker room after the first intermission?
"I don't think so. You got to have poise. Again, we talked this morning, the game wasn't going to be over after 20 minutes, no matter how it went. It wasn't going to be over after 40, it's over after 60 or 65, whatever it takes. You have to stay calm. I thought our guys came out ready to play. We got put on our heels a little bit but that happens. That's the ebb and flow of hockey. Let's keep going, just keep grinding and I thought we came out right off the bat in the second and had a great shift right away and kept grinding and grinding and grinding. It's a hard league to win in and we found a way to win."
How important was it for Petr to find a way to get the win?
"I just think it was important for our hockey team to find a way to win, and certainly himself included. I don't ever worry about Petr's mental makeup. I've seen him come back time and time and time again, I've been with him a long time. But again, it doesn't guarantee wins when you play real well but I thought for 60 minutes we played a pretty good hockey game. There's things we can get better at for sure but I thought we did lots of things well and found a way to win."
Larkin reached 20 goals, first rookie since Zetterberg to do so. What did you think of his play, especially since he hadn't scored in a while?
"I thought the last number of games, I thought he had been getting more chances and I thought he had shown up more offensively. I think he went through a little bit of a slump where maybe he wasn't getting as many chances, but I thought it was just a matter of time. I think with Henrik and Abby and him, they have a pretty good line, they've been pretty good all year together when they've played together. I think the will and determination of Z and Abby is a great learning thing for Larks to understand. Then learning how committed you have to be on the D side of the puck. There's no question that when he's got the puck on his stick, he can do some real good things and he needs to continue to play at a high level when he gets the kind of minutes that he gets."
What about Tatar's play that led to Abdelkader's goal?
"I thought Tats was great tonight, I thought his compete level was awesome. That play starts with him putting the puck in behind and I just thought his compete level was great. I thought we had a number of guys that were going to will themselves to win, there was no way they were going to lose the hockey game."
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.