Here are some quotes from Stars coach Lindy Ruff following the Stars 5-4 overtime loss to Anaheim that eliminated them from the playoffs.
On holding off Anaheim late in the game:
“It breaks down to just being a penalty-killing situation. That third one snuck in from a very tough angle and there wasn’t a lot you could do structure-wise against that. Then, they got a pretty good bounce on the fourth goal to tie it up.”
On talking to the team prior to overtime:
“I told them what I had been telling them all year, to bring focus and be ready to play. I thought we came out good to start but just lost coverage on the overtime goal. The room was upbeat and I told everyone to pick their heads up and be ready to go. It’s a cruel lesson but it gives us a platform to build on. There was so much good in that game from the opening play that we set up for a breakaway to set the tone for the game. The battle and compete from this team has been unbelievable. I’m proud of the way they played – they played really hard. They had them frustrated but they just got goaded into a penalty at the end which is tough. It’s a learning experience, that’s a young mistake.”
On losing the series despite being competitive:
“I would say that it’s tough to lose considering how well we played the whole series. We would just dominate periods where the only thing missing was a little bit of finish. You can go back to game two where we were dominating and we could have been the team that scored late. We had a couple of opportunities to tie it up and we missed those opportunities. We talked this morning about our finish and we had it right there tonight at 4-2 with two minutes. But it’s a cruel way – sometimes hockey is cruel and it was to a bunch of guys that worked really hard tonight.”
On the performance of Trevor Daley:
“Spectacular. (Daley) really brought his A game. How often do you see a (defenseman) score two breakaways? He defended against the best players in the league all year and offensively he was really coming on. He was a machine with the number of minutes he was playing.”
On how he looks at the team after the playoff series:
“You can’t sit here and look for blame in a game like that, there’s too much good. We have to learn from a couple of the incidents on the ice just like we learned from the incidents in game five. Those players turned it around and were very good players again for us tonight. We have a young team with young playoff experience and we got ourselves in a situation where we didn’t need to put ourselves but our fans can be awfully proud of those guys that stepped on the ice and I was awfully proud of our fans. I don’t think half of them sat down the whole game. This building was something that helped push these guys and you could just feel the energy. That’s something special.”
On the growth of the young guys from the beginning of this series:
“I trusted every one of them. We have a system that we play, and they know how to play in it. You look at the Eakin line what they were doing tonight and again they got on the score sheet, all young players no playoff experience, playing against one of the best lines in the league. It’s a great platform to push off of; my job is to make them understand how difficult it really is. We’ve set our bar at a certain level and now we have to push above that. That takes incredible work ethic, it’s hard to get in the playoffs. You guys know that, I know that, we hadn’t been in there but the work we put in the second half, some of the adversity we faced, this strong-enough-to-push-back-from, down two-nothing in this series, made us bring our A game. You ask what I thought our team would bring? They brought the best they could possibly bring tonight. And I told them, and I’ll say it again, I was damn proud of the way they played. I was proud of the way they competed. It’s a fun team to coach, it really is. Embrace this because we got some good players that are pushing through. My job now is to make them understand how hard it is to repeat it and to get better.”
*The Ducks outshot the Stars 30-24. Trevor Daley led the Stars with 5 shots on goal.
*The Stars won 41 of 83 faceoffs (49 percent). Cody Eakin won 18 of 29. Vernon Fiddler won 7 of 19. Tyler Seguin won 9 of 13.
*The Stars were 1-5 on the power play and ended the series 3-29 (10.3 percent).
*The Stars were 3-4 on the penalty kill and ended the series 19-26 (73.1 percent).
*Shawn Horcoff led the Stars in playoff scoring with 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists)
*Jamie Benn (4 goals, 1 assist), Trevor Daley (2 goals, 3 assists) and Cody Eakin (2 goals, 3 assists) were tied for second on the team with 5 points each.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Alex Chiasson
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin –Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Chris Mueller – Valeri Nichushkin
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Patrik Nemeth – Jordie Benn
Brenden Dillon – Sergei Gonchar
Scratched: Ray Whitney, Kevin Connauton, Aaron Rome, Dustin Jeffrey
Injured: Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)
Nick Bonino – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Saku Koivu – Jakob Silfverberg
Patrick Maroon –Rickard Rakell – Teemu Selanne
Daniel Winnik – Matt Beleskey – Devante Smith-Pelly
Francois Beauchemin – Luca Sbisa
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Mark Fistric
Scratched: Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem
Injured: Mathieu Perreault (lower body), Hampus Lindholm (neck), Tim Jackman (hand), Stephane Robidas (leg)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.