Can’t count on shutouts, but how much were you wishing for one tonight?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 1.94 | Sv%: .934
“It would be nice, but we gotta two points. Huge points for us. They were chasing us from the back (of the standings), now the two points gives us (room) now.”
Is this win more special because you played with some of the Senators in the OHL?
“I know two guys on the team. We know about each other, we played three years together, but those games, if I played against the 67s maybe it would be special. But that was like a normal game.”
Can you describe your swagger these days?
“I just try and work hard, stay positive, stop as many pucks as you can.”
But swagger is important, right?
“Yeah, that’s important. Every goaltender, I think, has swagger and the confidence, you know, so it’s important for the goaltender.”
How about the job that the penalty killers did in front of you tonight?
“They did outstanding job. The 5 on 3 they blocked like 3-4 shots there. Maybe I had 2-3 shots, I don’t know five or six penalty kills today, so did a good job out there.”
When you’re in a zone like this does it seem, at least psychologically, that the puck is even bigger and easier to see?
“It’s tough when they have the good skills there and you don’t see some pucks. But the guys did a great job and you can see it. They make me feel better out there.”
Exciting first period with puck hitting post at 12 second in, did you know then you were in for a close game?
“Yeah, that was a nice shot; it went off of Marchy’s skate or something. Hit the post, you know, it made me wake me up. That was a lucky post, but it counts.”
Can you describe Zack Smith’s bad-angle shot that he tried banking off of you during their first power play?
“Yeah, he does a great job in front of the net there. He’s a big body and he goes hard to the net so you have to be aware of that.”
How big has it been to win the last three games at home?
“Three games, six points, it’s big for the standings. Every game is important, so we take that.”
How about the effectiveness of the penalty kill?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 10 | Assists: 27 | Pts: 37
Shots: 123 | +/-: 4
"Once again, the last game too, they really saved us. With them and Petr, they really kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win here because we were in the box way too much."
Too-many-men penalties, is that just due to communication on the bench?
"Yeah, I think when we have four forwards on the power play, I think that kind of got a little messed up but it shouldn't happen."
Another well-played defensive game, what's going right these past three?
"I think just the way we play a little simpler than before here at home. We have patience, we trust each other that we're going to get enough chances to win games and not force pucks in the beginning of the game so I think that's one difference."
You've been racking up assists, but isn't it nice to get a goal?
"Yes, it does. It's been a while so it was nice to see the puck go in."
How concerned are you about DeKeyser's status?
"I haven't seen him after so hopefully it's not too bad and we just got to wait and see tomorrow."
Is there a point where you almost take Mrazek's play for granted?
"No, you can't do that. I think he's playing well. He plays with a lot of confidence and it shows."
|Darren Helm tries to avoid being hit by a teammate's shot during Wednesday's 3-1 win over Ottawa. Helm capped the scoring with an empty-net goal late. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings) |
What did you think of the job done by the PK?
“The one thing, we’ve talked about this lots, we want to have a good penalty kill. I think it’s real important as we head down the stretch here. I thought our penalty kill was great. I really liked our game. I thought we did lots of good stuff. Obviously we took too many penalties there, especially in the third. Bu I thought we did lots of really, really good things. Some nights are like that. I thought our penalty kill, just the confidence continued to grow. It’s unfortunate they scored there late because it hurts your numbers a little bit, but in the end the penalty kill won the game, but I also thought we played a really good hockey game.
What about getting another too-many-men penalty tonight?
“Well it’s concerning. It’s certainly something you don’t want to happen. Ultimately, that responsibility falls on me. So we’ll continue to work on that and make sure we address it. But good for our guys to do a good job on the kill.”
Do you have an update on DeKeyser’s injury?
“It’s a bruise is what it looks like. It’s not a break by any means. It’s a bruise. It was sore. It hit in a spot that’s going to be painful. He’ll be day to day. We’ll see tomorrow where it’s at. He just couldn’t put enough weight on it to finish the game.”
What about the confidence level that Mrazek continues to play at?
“I think he’s continued to play real good. I think he’s played real good for a while now. I’d also say that our team defense has something to do with that. Our guys have really, really played good defensively. We haven’t given up lots of back doors; we haven’t given up a lot of odd-man rushes. We haven’t given up lots of seconds. I think that helps your save percentage, it helps your goaltender. I think they go hand in hand with success but certainly Petr has played at a real good level. But he’s played at a real good level for a long time.”
What do you attributed to the lack of turnovers in this current homestand?
“We’ve talked lots through the year about turnovers and turnovers kind of dictate whether we win or lose. So I think that’s an important part of it. I think the specialty teams have been good here in the last couple games. Obviously penalty kill was a bigger factor tonight. We didn’t get a lot of chances on the power play, so it’s hard to judge that. But penalty kill was a huge factor tonight. In this homestand we’ve found a way to score goals. Obviously not as many tonight as we had previous but I think we’ve continued to play good defensively and one thing, when we were making some changes in our lines and what not, we were talking about trying to get two percent better hoping we didn’t get two percent worse and the worry on that was defense and I think our defending as a team has been just as good as it was prior. So that’s a real positive. I think Pav and Z still continue to play well off each other. I think the other lines have fallen in and it looks like they’ve got situations where they can jell well.”
Can you gauge where the team’s confidence level is at right now?
“Anytime you win close games, anytime you win games against good teams, anytime you win games in the league it’s a confidence thing. Teams are full of a bunch of humans and you gain confidence as you have success. That’s just the way it works so certainly the more success you have the more confidence you gain. With Darren Helm in particular I thought he was representative of the rest of the team. I thought he did a great job in terms of his high-competitive level and I thought our team competed at a high level as well.”
Earlier in the season you were able to establish 2-0 leads, glad to see them coming back around again?
“That’s a good point actually. Early in the season we didn’t find that second goal. Even though it wasn’t a five-goal game or what not, that’s the reality of the league every night. We did find a way to get that second goal and that’s a big, big thing. I think that’s got to help with the confidence as well and hopefully it will continue on Friday.”
Could you see that Ottawa was transitioning with the addition of Phaneuf to its lineup tonight?
“I focus so much on our own team it’s hard for me to say with that. I’ll let them evaluate that but that’s part of the reality of trades. But I’ll let them focus on that.”
How settled in are you getting?
Center - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 3
Shots: 13 | +/-: 3
“Every game, every practice I just feel a little more comfortable. It’s always a good feeling to have that.”
What is the feeling on the bench when the penalty kill is shutting them down?
“It’s unbelievable, such a momentum swing for us when that PK is going. Once it’s done, everyone is going, so it’s always good.”
Is how he's playing now similar to what you saw from Mrazek in Grand Rapids?
“Yeah, it’s so hard to beat him. He’s a wall back there. It’s an unbelievable thing to have. It’s like having a third defenseman back there as well with his ability to play the puck. He’s an elite goalie.”
Are guys feeding off Mrazek?
“Exactly. Even when I played against him in the O it was the same thing. He’s a big momentum-swinger for us as well.”
The way the top three lines are set up, it’s choose your poison, can’t check them all?
“We’re so deep through our four lines; it’s such a good thing to have during tough games. All four lines are firing it’s huge, a compliment to each line. It gives the first two lines a little bit of pressure off their back.”
How about the team being 3-0 at home since your recall from Grand Rapids?
“I’m just happy we won. It’s an unbelievable feeling in the locker room when you get these wins. Every game here is tough. We played some tough teams the last three games. I’m just happy to be a part of that.”
You had an assist on the DeKeyser goal; it has to feel good to contribute offensively despite limited ice time?
“It always feels good. … I didn’t even know I got the assist. When you score, you can see how happy I am for the guys. It’s good to be a part of it. The assist is always a bonus.”
How have you seen Mrazek’s development from the OHL to the AHL to now?
“You just see him mature and grow. Obviously he’s a little bit younger back then. As he’s getting older he’s getting quicker and faster. You can see how confident he is in the net, which a huge thing for a goalie.”
Did you ever score against him in the OHL?
“Yeah. I did my rookie year, I had a breakaway on him, I think it was shorthanded, too. I went forehand, backhand, back to my forehand, slipped it over his blocker.
“I look back on it, it’s funny.”
How about the way the penalty kill performed tonight?
LEFT WING - DET
Goals: 5 | Assists: 9 | Pts: 14
Shots: 95 | +/-: -2
"That was a tough job against a good team. They move the puck around really well and they've got some really good weapons, some guys who can really shoot. I thought obviously Petr was great in net. Guys were blocking shots, which was huge. Those are such important things for a successful PK."
It seemed like you had an extra-wide smile after the empty-net goal?
"I was definitely happy about that and I was trying to make fun of Glenny. Last time he scored an empty net he looked like he was frowning, so I told him, 'You've got to smile. Those don't come every day.' I was happy with my goal for sure."
What was the key to the success of the penalty kill?
"Kind of a little, but of everything I said earlier – goaltending, blocking shots and aggressive forecheck, aggressive in the zone when we have opportunities to go. Guys running their routes properly, all those things. As soon as you start getting away from one or two of those things, that's when they start scoring, so I thought we did a good job the last couple of days of doing the things we need to do."
How much of a lift is it holding team to no shots on a 5 on 3?
"Those are usually big moments in games, five on threes. If a team scores, they get momentum. If a team doesn't, then the team that holds them out usually gets the momentum. I thought it was a huge kill for us, along with the others, both those are extra special."
You've won three in a row at home. How much confidence can that build once you start playing the way you want to play at home?
"Hockey is a huge confidence sport. I thought we were playing decent and losing a lot of games at home. Now I think we're playing pretty good. We're starting to get a little confidence and playing well enough and doing the right things. You get that confidence and you find ways to win instead of finding ways to lose."
Was there any sense the Senators were still sorting things out after the Phaneuf trade?
"I don't really get that sense when I'm out there. I'm just trying to play but I think anytime you get a good player like that coming to a team you try to find ways to fit him in, get him in the rotation in different ways. I can't say for sure but it's tough when you get a new good player like that coming to a team and you're trying to sort things out."
How about Colorado on Friday?
"There's no teams you can take for granted. It's tight. These guys were only six points behind us (seven actually) and they played us hard and played us well. I expect the same with Colorado and every other team that we face. We're fighting for playoff spots as well as everybody else so we've got to play hard and come out with a similar effort to what we did tonight."
Knowing how hard it is to score goals in this league, when you've got a goalie like Petr and know if you get a couple you'll probably win, how much at ease does that put the team?
"He's definitely brought us confidence. He's done an outstanding job this year. He's won a couple of games for us for sure and been keeping us in a lot of others. That only helps teams. We definitely feel confident when we get a one or two-goal lead with him in the net."
DetroitRedWings.com editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.