Before heading out on the team's 4-game road trip, Dion Phaneuf spoke to the media about his thoughts on the importance of clinching a playoff spot, the next handful of games on the road and more…
On whether or not the team is built for the playoffs:
I think what we did at the trade deadline is that we added pieces and that's a good feeling if you're sitting in this room when you're adding at the deadline means that the general manager ownership believes in your team and they want to add to the group to give yourself the best chance at getting to the playoffs. The acquisitions that we made were a big boost to our team; they came in and they've fit in very well. They gave us more depth and depth is a key. I think you could see throughout our lineup that we have depth and that's all positive.
On the importance of the team preparing for playoffs:
If you look at the way the games are played now, there's not a lot of space, they're tight checking games and I feel that that works to our advantage because we've been playing in tight games all year. We're a team that doesn't give up a whole lot when we play the way that we can and the way that we want to. You look when we have success, we play that tight brand of hockey that doesn't give up a whole lot to the neutral zone, make teams dump it and we try to counter it so. We've built our game up through the year. We feel good about where we're at; we've got some room to grow. We want to continue to keep getting better but we're happy with where we're at.
On the team's power play heading into the playoffs:
I don't think it's fair to point out the power play because us on the penalty kill…we didn't get it done in Montreal. Our power play we're confident in, the guys that we have they're going to produce. But right now, you look at our last game…we've got to do a better job on the penalty kill. So special teams are very important, we're aware of that and we'll get better at it.
On the team's upcoming 4-game road-trip:
It's a long trip, when you look at it right from day one. We start in the east, we go west and then we come back east so there's lots of traveling involved. We're playing a team in Philly that's a tough building to go into, a lot of energy, they play well at home and that's where we're starting. It's a big trip; it's going to be a challenge. The thing that I like about our group is that we seem to play well on the road. We're a team that is detailed with the structure and system that we play so I think it gives us a chance on the road.
On looking at the end-result and working towards it:
If you look at the end result, I think you'll drive yourself crazy because it's going to change a lot. From night to night there's movement in the standings. In my opinion, the way that you go about your business is you take care of your games and everything else is going to fall where it may. But we've got to win hockey games; we've got to continue to climb. We want to finish as high as we can, we've said that before and we'll see where we go. We've got to continue to get points any way you can, it doesn't matter who you're playing, you've got to get points.
On locking up a playoff spot as quickly as possible:
In a perfect world, you'd like it to happen as soon as possible but we're at where we're at. We're going to have to continue to get points and when we get to that point, we'll talk about that then. But right now our focus is Philly and bouncing back from the game that we had before. We didn't play a real bad game but we didn't find a way to win. We want to be better, we want to start the trip off right and I'm confident in the group.