Not a bad way to do it, the hard way, with a big, huge third period after some shaky (to say the least) moments. To do it protecting a one-goal lead against a good team, with Henrik Lundqvist playing out of his mind, with the captain playing a second straight strong game, with the usual, maybe higher than usual, good stuff from Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan.
I asked John Tortorella if it was a good way to do it, the hard way.
“You try to use it as an opportunity,” he said. “Would you like to be in with five games left, knowing you’ve got a spot and home ice? That would even be better. But we’re not in that situation. But I think we took it as an opportunity and I thought guys did some really good things at key times in the game. We fought it for a little bit there. We were under seige for a while. But we just kept on fighting and trying to figure out some way to just get through that game and win it.
“We’re happy we’re in and now we have to keep on improving and see where we end up at the end of the year.”
“He was just outstanding. That’s how you win games in the playoffs. That’s how you win a game to get into the playoffs. It starts with your goalie and usually ends with your goalie as far as if you want to be there in the end to get in and to succeed when you do get to the playoffs. It’s a great game for him and he certainly was a big part of tonight’s game.”
On areas that need to be better in playoffs?
“All areas. Lets put it that way. When you get into the playoffs you have to be on top of everything within your team concept. … We need to get better as a team as we enter the playoffs, and in general, understanding how much you have to battle. That’s the thing in playoffs. It ends up turning into a one-on-one battle sooner or later in all facets of the game, and that’s what we need to work on.”
He was asked if he has learned these past few games which players he can trust in situations, and Tortorella said, being “honest” that taking over late in the season and “you almost hope that a guy will get it done. And I did some hoping the last couple of weeks.
“The hoping is done. If a guy is going to do the job, and I feel he’s going to do the job, he’s going to play. If a guy is not doing the job, and it doesn’t matter who it is, he won’t play. Because it’s a seven-game series but the momentum swings in playoffs are so important, and I’m not going to waste much time hoping come playoff time. I can’t. It’s not fair to the team. The team has worked hard to get there. I’m going to put people out on the ice that I see fit, that are willing to do the things to win a hockey game.”
Jane here with the clips, and I added that shot I took of the buzz right after the first goal 52 seconds in. Captain Chris Drury on the third period:
Henrik Lundqvist on the importance of winning tonight:
And Markus Naslund on the penalty in the third: