How do you explain a performance like today’s game?
CENTER - DET
Goals: 20 | Assists: 23 | Pts: 43
Shots: 188 | +/-: -11
“Well, I thought we got the first goal in the game and then in the second they really, really took it over from the beginning. They scored some quick ones, 4-1, ended up 4-2, thought we had something going but then 5-2 just killed the game for us.”
How devastating was it that they scored so quickly after your team would score?
“Yeah, those are some key moments. There were some mistakes in the game that we probably want to have back but when they get 5-2 there then it’s 7-2, you know, that shouldn’t happen. That’s on us. It’s something that we have to just erase. Obviously it’s not good but we have a game on Monday, we have to clear the air here and come back and play.”
Guys have said this before, erase this one, but you’re running out of games, aren’t you?
“Yeah, you’re right but we really can’t talk about the last game either. We won the last one. Obviously we wanted to have a better performance here today. We want to win the next game here Monday; it’s a big game. We’re still in it and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Was an issue the inability to get the puck out of your own zone, particularly in the second period?
“Yeah, that was one of the problems. The goals they get are too easy. We got to be more careful with the puck in key areas, we got to play better in our own end, and play better in their end. They spend time in our end and that’s what we should do in their end.”
Would you have wanted to see more passion and fight back from your team in the third period?
“Well that fifth (goal) really killed it. I thought we had some decent chances, I thought we had some decent shots in the second but then they scored in bunches, and they did that.”
That was as animated as we’ve seen Jeff Blashill this season during that timeout, what did he say to you guys?
“Got to be better.”
Penalties and bad play in your own end is hurting this team, what is being done to address that?
Defense - DET
Goals: 3 | Assists: 20 | Pts: 23
Shots: 52 | +/-: -17
“Well, there’s a lot of talk but I think again, that’s enough talk. We’ve got to get out there and actually do something about it. Doesn’t better how much you do with talking, you’ve got to be able to do it out there too.”
Where are the breakdowns occurring?
“Well, I think one of the areas is we’re not talking enough, not helping each other out, so the guy who gets the puck doesn’t really know what to do with it, and we keep turning it over.”
When bad things happen seems situation snowballs on this team, how much of a concern is that?
“Obviously that’s one area that has to get fixed and it’s got to get fixed very soon. Like you said, if you let it affect you you’re not going anywhere. It’s pretty simple. So that’s one of the areas where we as older guys we got to make sure that that doesn’t happen. And we’ve got to get better.”
Are you seeing enough urgency, considering there’s so few games left on the schedule?
“Today I don’t think it was nearly what it needs to be, and that’s obviously something … Tonight was embarrassing and we have to do a lot better than that. We have to be better, pretty simple.”
When Blashill called the timeout in the third, what was his message to the players?
“I think what’s been said kind of stays within the team. But basically we had whatever, 12 minutes left, or whatever, just keep doing the right things out there pretty much.”
Why have the Penguins caused this team so much trouble this season?
“Good question. I mean, they’re a good team when they get the space. I thought we did good things at times where we didn’t give them a lot of space and that’s how we have to play. For whatever reason we gave them way too much space tonight. They’re a talented team. They’ve got some real good players that can do some damage and we gave them way too much room out there.”
Power play has scored in four straight games, but not nearly enough is this season, is that why this team is struggling to make the playoffs?
“I don’t know if I want to think too much about it to be honest with you. Obviously our power play has to get better. Sure we’ve gotten some goals lately but we need those goals, and we need them earlier in the game. We can’t be digging ourselves a hole, three goals against and all of a sudden we have one. Obviously, we could have had something going there, but they answer right back. But it’s tough when you spot them three goals and expect to get something out if it. We have to be way better than that.”
Were breakouts a problem because of the Penguins’ forecheck tonight?
“I think there were a lot of areas tonight that we didn’t do a very good job of, to be honest with you. Whether that was turnovers or too much separation between the forward and the D, it was just too much room out there for them.”
Is there a lack of puck luck up front too?
“You know what I think the puck luck is something that is earned, and right now we’re not earning it. It’s pretty simple. I think you do enough good things out there, the puck is gonna start bouncing your way, and tonight we didn’t do that.”
Your goal was big one, but seemed like you had other chances left out there?
LEFT WING - DET
Goals: 7 | Assists: 5 | Pts: 12
Shots: 45 | +/-: 1
“Sometimes you have tough nights like that. I know I had a chance earlier too, I was right in the slot and Fleury makes a big save there. I was fortunate enough to get that first one, but sometimes you have those nights.”
Do you feel problems are snowballing on you guys now?
“The only thing you can do there is keep following pucks to the net. If you have a goal scorer who hasn’t been scoring you tell them to shoot more and eventually they’ll go in.”
You now have scored seven goals in 30 games, what has been the key?
“Just sticking to do what I do best. I know my strengths and my speed is a big asset to that. Whenever I get out there I try and do the best I can to help the guys win.”
Blashill was the most animated we’ve seen him during that timeout, what was said?
“When you’re in a situation like that obviously it’s tough, but I think our goal there was to come out of that and play good hockey and go forward from there. Just try and keep going.”
What happened in the second period when they scored four goals?
“You have some breakdowns there. You got that bounce off the back wall, kind of swings of momentum there. You give up some power plays, just one of those nights. Can’t do much about it.”
Are penalties, turnovers, and poor play in your own end doing you guys in?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.31 | Sv%: .921
“Obviously, not the result we wanted. We started well, first period, up 1-0. Then start of the second you let in that goal, had a bad bounce, went off my leg, then my ass and went in, quick turnaround and you see the result in the end.”
Would you like to have the second (Letang) and fourth (Kessel) goals back?
“The second one I tried to hold the position there on Letang because you know how he goes, he likes to go around guys. I didn’t think he was going to shoot first and then he did he just did like a half a slapper in.”
What are your thoughts on being beaten by Penguins three times this season and pulled three times against them in the last two years?
“They’re a good offensive team. They can shoot the puck, they can score. Like how you said three times in two years I’ve got pulled, that’s the first time I heard that from you. We wanted to win today and we didn’t.”
Are the Penguins the toughest team at crashing the net that you’ve faced?
“We have to play better obviously. They have a good skilled team up front and they scored seven goals.”
How concerned are you that this team is running out of time to make the playoffs?
“The game is over. We have to look forward, we have seven games left. We have to look forward and be positive and go get the win Monday.”
|Henrik Zetterberg battles Penguins center Matt Cullen during a first-period face off Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings) |
What most disturbed you about this one?
“Again, we let momentum totally get away from us. We weren’t resilient enough once we got scored on. We got to be better than that.”
Is the problem lack of communication with penalties, turnovers, poor play in defensive zone?
“We’ve talked lots about talk, about making sure we communicate so that we can support each other, not turn pucks over, who has who, things like that. I thought when I walked in after the first period we had played real well, I thought it was a real good hockey game and then once they scored early there. We let the momentum get away from us.”
Has this become a disturbing trend?
“I’m going to be honest in telling you this, I don’t know if it’s a trend or not a trend. This is what I know: I know we got to win a hockey game on Monday. That’s all I’m thinking about right now. We’ll review the tape, like we always do, and we’ll continue to make guys accountable to make sure we play better than that, but what I know for sure is we got to win a hockey game on Monday.”
Did they get too many easy looks on their goals?
“I’m trying to think of the looks, I don’t know if they were that easy in the first four, to be honest with you. They certainly weren’t walking in right down the pike. I didn’t think the first four … I think Petr’s got to be better than that and then I thought we got goofy in the third, that’s why I called the timeout. I know we were trying to come back and all that stuff, you got to play good hockey, you can’t develop bad habits.”
Do the problems in the second period start in your own zone, trouble with their forecheck?
“I don’t know, we got scored on the first shift and then we got scored on right away again. To me, we did a poor job of handling the momentum of the game.”
How perplexing is this loss?
“It’s a loss, it was frustrating, it was embarrassing, but it’s a loss. That’s it. We have to win a game on Monday. That’s what our focus is.”
Are you disappointed to not see better reaction after they scored?
"Yeah. Again, I thought we let the momentum get away from us too much. We got to be better than that. When they scored the two quick ones there, we got to be better than that and make sure we take momentum back. We didn't do a good enough job of that. Again, we have to be better than that on Monday."
How disappointed are you in your hockey team right now?
"I'm not here to talk about disappointment. I have tons of belief in these guys. We've got to come here and win a game on Monday, period."
Who will be in net Monday?
"I'll discuss that later on. We'll talk about that later."
Have the goalies been good enough?
"Again, our team hasn't been good enough defensively so we've got to be better for them. I've always felt that goaltending follows team defense so we'll take responsibility for that. We've got to be better defensively and then I think, to a man, we've got to execute at a higher level than we did tonight, period. Whether it's the coach, whether it's the players, we all got to execute at a higher level than we did tonight and we got to do that come Monday."
How about offensively? Were some chances left on the table?
"We've scored enough lately. We've got to keep pucks out of our net. So we've got to keep pucks out of our net by playing better defensively, we've got to keep pucks out of our net by managing the puck better, we've got to keep pucks out of our net with real good goaltending. That's how we've got to keep pucks out of our net."
What does accountability after a loss look like at this point in the season?
"Well, we'll have to make sure that the lineup's what we want it to be and if there's somebody, we've got good players sitting out, so we'll have to look and see is there anybody that we think should go in. So we'll look at that. The other way, I think is just by making sure that we do lots of video work with mistakes and how we can be better, things like that."
That was as animated as you've been during the time-out. What was the core message?
"We got to play good hockey. I don't care at that point, you can't try to score and play poor hockey, you've got to play good hockey and your habits have to be great all the time. There's no way that I wanted to allow a game that was in a bad spot to affect us. I knew at that point we probably weren't winning the hockey game so we better play good hockey so that come Monday, we're ready to play good hockey."
Is the lineup part of the discussion going on the last while?
"No, we just as a coaching staff, we just talked about lots of things."
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.