JOHN TORTORELLA PRE-GAME:
Same lineup. Different lines, Dubinsky on first line for starters.
On the scoring problems (from a Montreal media member): ”I get asked that question every day here. It’s a tough one to answer. Last night, I think we get the better chances in the game; we don’t finish. We’re down 2-1, we have our best player with two great chances right after they scored their second goal, and for some reason, Gabby struggled. He’s a big part of our offense. But why you don’t score offensively is a hard question to answer. We just need to get some finish, maybe get a deflection. They got goals off skates last night, and again I think we get the better chances, and come up empty.”
On Higgins playing his former team: “Oh, I don’t give a damn we’re playing against; his former team. Christopher Higgins played a good game last night on a couple of different lines. He’s a guy we need to score a goal, but I expect him to do the things he’s doing without scoring goals—and that’s do the job along the wall, kill some penalties, and hopefully chip in a goal.
“He’s just trying to find his game with confidence. A great indication of where Higgy is as a player, he comes down the left wing last night, has a chance to get in a pretty good scoring area, just holds onto the puck a second too long, and instead of getting a good scoring chance, the defenseman puts his stick on it and it’s deflected wide. That’s how it’s gone for him. In this building here, he’s had a couple open nets at key times in the game, and it bounces over his stick. But I think Christopher has really stayed within himself. I think he dipped a couple of games ago, and really wasn’t doing a lot of the things he has been, and I think he regained himself a little bit last night.”
On the PP: “We’ll see how it goes … We have to get something figured out there. Through our struggles scoring goals, the reason we were winning some games was that power play was working. So that’s very important for us to get going again.”
On his return to MSG: “The way everyone’s in the playoff race, the personal stuff and all that, no. I’ve been here plenty of times. There are more important things to think about.”
On whether he’s motivated by booing: “Until you go through it, it’s a little different. My first game back in Jersey (with Montreal) I was talking to (Ken Daneyko) and saying, ‘This time they won’t boo me.’ Geez, as soon as I tou ched the ice (they booed). Guys are asking, will I get booed here? I don’t know. I got traded. It wasn’t like I wanted to go, it wasn’t like I asked. I loved my time here. I loved the organization.
“I know a guy like Scotty Stevens absolutely loved (being booed). He could go out and stand at center and get booed. He fed off it. It’s fun. How many times do you get to go into a building and get booed? Unless you’re on the home team and they’re booing you; that’s a different kind of boo. It’s not going to motivate me. It is what it is. It’s a little different here.”
He was asked about the difference in the cities and the media attention, and he couldn’t resist a typical Gomez wisecrack.
“You guys are all (abdelkaders). They just speak a different language.” He laughed when he said it.