Left Wing - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 0
Shots: 2 | Hits: 6
Just your thoughts on tonight’s game?
“We played well. That’s a good team over there. There wasn’t much going on in the first period really, teams kind of checking each other. That power play goal was big for us. Even that first power play we had a lot of chances, good possession there. Specialty teams are huge, our penalty kill was big tonight. Howie made some saves when he had to.”
Seemed like right before the power-play goal you guys got things going?
“It always sometimes starts with a shift and draw a penalty, power play gets going, crowd gets going and kind of go from there. From that shift before and that power-play goal I think we kind of took over the rest of the game.”
We’re you surprised that they changed your goal?
“I don’t know. Maybe they’re used to calling goals by me now. They don’t look anymore.”
Does it feel pretty good to be undefeated?
“Division games are always extra important. Tampa obviously came down to home ice and we lost in Game 7 in Tampa Bay. We know how important that is. It’s three games, it’s still early, but a lot of positive things.”
Henrik Zetteberg now has seven points in three game, how big is that contribution?
“He’s playing really well. He had a great summer as far as training. He came into camp ready to go, kind of with a chip on his shoulder. Maybe the new coaching change brought a breath of fresh air for him. I think our whole line is doing a lot of good things. Larkin is skating well, had good chances. He’s our leader and it’s good to see him doing so good.”
Is Jimmy Howard another guy playing with a chip on his shoulder?
“Yeah, yeah for sure. He’s out to prove himself. Everyone has to. Especially Jimmy with how last season ended. He’s responded well and had played really well for us.”
Did tonight feel like a playoff game with not a lot of scoring chances?
“Both teams play really similar, skate really well. There’s not many chances either way. That’s why specialty teams are so big. Our penalty kill did a great job. Power play got us one. Overall a good game for us, against a good opponent like that it’s good to measure yourself against early in the season.”
What are your impressions of Dylan Larkin after three games?
“He’s a good player. I think now we know what to expect from him each and every night. He’s going to be a guy always on the puck, has good skill set, obviously playing with Z he’ll find him a lot of times, but he’s a good addition for us. Management staff did a good job finding him even in the later part of the first round. He’s a big part of this team.”
Seemed like your net-front presence was frustrating the Lightning’s Ben Bishop?
“It’s always important when you have a line that guys have different roles. Everyone can’t have the puck. Everyone can’t be a shooter. You got to have a guy in front of the net, a guy getting pucks back skating. So hopefully I can do that part. I think I’ve done that part for most of my career, so yeah, just trying to be at the net for those guys, be strong on pucks. Bishop’s a big goalie, so if he comes out of the net, there’s really not all that much to shoot at, so we’ve got to keep driving him back and get bodies in front of him.”
Did you see Alex Killorn at the last second on that second-period collision?
“Yeah, you know what, it kind of worked out good because I was back-checking and he kind of turned right into me. So right spot, right time for a hit like that I guess.”
You had a pretty physical game for yourself?
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t think nothing too different. I try to bring that physical edge and lead the team that way up front.”
What kind of measuring stick was this to beat a team that knocked you off in the playoffs?
“I think it’s definitely an early measurement for us against a good team, an undefeated team, a team that got off to a good start and is picked as one of the favorites. Yeah, it’s early in the season, but it’s always good to measure yourself against a top team.”
Pretty nice to work out whatever struggles you do have and still be 3-0-0?
“Yeah, for sure. In that Carolina game we kind of found a way to win even thought we didn’t play our best hockey. I thought we played really well against Toronto. And then tonight we kind of hung in there for the first 13 minutes. We didn’t play our best but then got going from there. I thought we took over the game after we got that first goal.”
What’s the best thing that’s come of these first three games?
“I think we’re just playing really well. Obviously both goaltenders have been great for us and that’s huge. Under a new coach there’s a lot of questions, obviously with how the teams’ going to play, how the team’s going to respond. I think we’ve responded great and shown that we have a good group in here that can compete for the Stanley Cup this year. So it’s a good start. You always want to get off to a good start in the season so you’re not putting yourself behind, and divisional games are always big. So this was an extra big game tonight.”
The Lightning led league in goals, so how did you hold them to one?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 1.00 | Sve%: .952
"I think the name of the game tonight was playing with possession. I think we did that for the better part of the game. You can stifle them by doing that."
Did you like the job that the penalty killers did tonight?
"They're dangerous, both units can be very dangerous but our PK outworked them tonight. That's a good thing to see because you need to have great special teams throughout the year and it's a good start to the season."
Your thoughts on the top line of Zetterberg, Abdelkader and Larkin producing 16 points already?
"They're playing with great chemistry right now. It's fun to watch. You got a mix of everything on that line so it's a great combination for us."
How surprising is it that Larkin has jelled with Zetterberg and Abdelkader?
"No, I don't think so. He's a great player. He uses his speed to his advantage and you got Abby with the grit and Z with the smarts so it's a great combination out there."
Was tonight a good measuring stick game?
"They're a great team. It's very simple why they played in the Stanley Cup Finals last year. They're one of the best teams in the East, we think we're very comparable. I thought we showed that tonight."
You’re thoughts on being undefeated with two straight wins to start the season?
"It's only three games. It's a long ways to go. It's nice but let's keep it cool."
Was tonight a good litmus test for this team?
"I think so. Like I said, there's a reason why they played in the Stanley Cup Finals last year and that's because they're a great team. For us, going out in seven games to them last year, we wanted to show something here tonight."
The Lightning played back to back, did that matter?
"I don't think that played much into our mindset tonight because they played so early yesterday. They showed up fresh."
Your thoughts on the PK tonight?
"We did a great job. We didn't give them long to set up, only a couple of times and if they had possession, they worked it on the outside so we did a great job."
Just your thoughts on your goal?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 3 | +/-: E
“It’s tough to see. It happens so fast there. I’m just happy we scored a goal.”
What happened in that sequence right before first-period PP, did it kind of get you going?
“In a game like this we’re playing against a good opponent. We played against them a lot last year obviously. It’s important to get that first goal for sure. I thought we played a pretty good game overall. We managed to score there on the power play and then Z made it 2-0, which helped a lot, too. Overall, a pretty game. I thought Howard played great in net as well.
How nice was it to post early win against team that put you out of playoffs?
“Absolutely. They’re a good team. That’s a good team we played out there and we think we’re a good team so it’s nice to beat these guys in front of our own fans. It’s a big game. Every point is important even though it’s early in the season. Two points is the same amount of points as you get in Game 79. It’s important to rack these points up.
What have you seen from Hank this season?
“Hank is our leader out there. It’s great to see him healthy. I think he’s told you guys too that his body feels as good as it has been in a long time and I think it shows out there. He’s strong on the puck, but that’s usual for Hank. He’s our leader. He just does what he does out there and that’s why he’s one of the best players in the world.”
What about Abdelkader’s net-front presence on two goals?
“The goalie can’t see much. Both my goal and Hank’s goal I think Abby’s in front there. That’s the work he does. It’s nice to see him get rewarded for that as well. Early in the season he’s got four so far. It’s a pretty good start for him. It’s nice see him get rewarded for all the hard work he does.”
They must think he’s a goal scorer when they’re giving him goals that don’t even touch him, right?
“He is a goal scorer. He scored a lot of goals last year and he showed that he can score goals again this year. His goals are going to be very important for our team.”
How rewarding to score on PP when you’re the one who drew the penalty?
“It’s always a nice feeling to score a goal and especially the first one of the season as well. It’s nice to get that over with. When you go a few games early and you don’t score, maybe you start thinking about it. I think it was just nice to get that first goal out of the way.”
Just your thoughts on tonight’s win?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 2
Shots: 1 | +/-: E
“Obviously we have a little history here from playoffs last year so not as intense that it was in April but I think it was a well played game. Two good goalies going at it. Howie was good again today. Bishop played well. Obviously we got one on the power play, our PK was good. Overall it was a good game.”
How impressive has Larkin been?
“He’s got all the tools and he’s playing well. Bu the nice thing with him is he’s working hard. He always works hard in practice and in the games and doing everything right. Then you add all the skill he has and he’s becoming a pretty good player.”
What about the good start this team is on?
“We’re still working things out here. It’s been some tight games but obviously it’s nice to get three wins but it’s a long season. We get two days here and then back-to-back again. So it’s two tough games on the weekend.”
How about the offensive production of the first line?
“Obviously Abby was really hot the first game there and when the points trickle in it’s a little easier to play. But it’s still early. We have a full season left here so obviously we’re on a good start but it’s a long way home.”
Impressions of Abdelkader’s fast start to the season?
“It’s early, three games. I had a pretty good start last year then I hit the wall in January. A lot of things can happen but obviously it’s a pretty good start. I just got to wake up tomorrow and feel good.”
Your thoughts on beating the Lightning?
“They’re a really good hockey team. They put lots of pressure on you in a lot of different ways, so it can get ragged because of that. I thought overall, after the first half of the first, we played really well. Overall as a group we managed the puck pretty well. We had some turnovers but they were isolated a little bit. I was really happy with the way we played.”
Special teams make a big difference in this one?
“Big power-play goal. Good shot by Nyquie, great net front presence by Abby. And then I thought our PK was real good in critical moments. Specialty teams can be a little misleading depending on the time of the game. I thought in tonight’s game the timing was great.”
The top line seems to be jelling nicely?
“Z’s playing real good, Abby’s playing good, Larkin’s playing good. As individuals they’re playing good. They seem to have some pretty good chemistry. It’s a pretty good mix of speed and size and skill and offensive smarts. They’ve obviously been productive. It’s good for us.”
Did Jurco do what he needed to in his season debut?
“I think Jurcs played pretty well. I think the biggest thing with Jurcs is we got to make sure he’s skating. When he left us in the American League (two years ago), he was a physical, on the puck forechecker. Not that he doesn’t do other things. He was a point a game in the American League when he left. He was an impact player in the playoffs when he came back that year. I just think he’s got to skate, he’s got to get on the forecheck, he’s got to be stick on puck to create turnovers and he’s got to be physical and I thought he did that tonight.”
Do you have an update on Johan Franzen?
“When he went home today he just didn’t feel good. One of those things. I don’t have any information on that (whether it’s concussion related).”
Jimmy Howard is off to a fast start, how important is that for him after the finish he had last season?
“I think it’s good for Jimmy. Obviously confidence is a big deal. It didn’t finish the way he wanted to finish (last year) but I also remember the first half of the year when he was real good and picked to be an All-Star and I think he’s back in that form. I think this is what Jimmy is, this is what Jimmy has proven over the longevity of his career and I think he’s done a real good job but it’s good to get that confidence back.”
Your thoughts on Abdelkader’s net presence and other elements of his game?
“He’s a real important player for us. His physicality is something we need. He brings that. He’s really learned how to be a great net-front guy. My year as an assistant here, Tomas Holmstrom was still here and I think Abby learned a lot from him. I think it shows now and paying dividends in his game. And he’s got the ability to score. He’s a guy who can really help a line and he’s obviously helped that line lots.”
What did you think of the job Nyquist did tonight?
“I thought Nyquie’s played really hard and to get rewarded with a goal is important for him. When you’re an offensive player no matter how much we can preach process and not worry about looking at the numbers, numbers matter, so I thought it was good for Nyquie to score.”