To repeat the news: Artem Anisimov blocked a shot in the second and injured his right ankle. He will have an MRI today. He said he knew it was pretty bad “right away” when he didn’t feel any “relief” after a few minutes.
Michal Rozsival hyperextended a knee, and John Tortorella said he should be OK. Derek Stepan was benched in the third.
“I thought we started off OK. We had a simple gameplan. The ice was so bad we just wanted to get the puck in deep and try to get to the body and create some forechecking. The first half of the period I thought we did a really good job of that. And then we started, and I think this is what turned it, we started making lateral passes, turnovers in the neutral zone and we allowed them to play at about 140 feet. And obviously we had some breakdowns throughout the game.”
Did it come too easily early in the game, with the quick goal?
“Well, you know, you worry, and I think it did. It gets good to you, because we played really well the first half of the period. That’s the way Atlanta’s been winning. They’ve been scoring some goals, ugly goals, and they find a way. They’ve got good team speed. But I think it got good to us a little bit in the first period and I thought we gathered ourselves a little bit in the second. But the third goal was a tough one. That hurt us a bit. I think it was a needless pass by Step (Stepan) around the boards on a play like that. (Staal) should have had it but, that one hurt us.
“We crawled back in it, but again, we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t deserve to win.”
About the timeout.
“It wasn’t anything specific. We just weren’t playing hard enough. They were outworking us in a lot of different areas. We weren’t into the body. And I really felt if they scored another one we’re in deep trouble. We didn’t play the way we needed to play through the 60, certainly not enough minutes. We had played in spurts, and they capitalized.”
“We lost and we deserved to lose. We shouldn’t put ourselves in that type of spot (after) how ewe started the game. We shouldn’t have let it get out of hand.”
“We need some saves there. The third one was one I think that we needed Marty (to stop). The fifth one might have hit a stick, I’m not sure. But in that type of game, if we get a couple more saves, it may be a difference.”
On why it got out of hand.
“We didn’t play consistently enough in the neutral zone, with our forechecking, in our end zone. There were breakdowns in our end zone. I can go through them all but, basically, we didn’t play consistently enough, well enough, in all three zones.”
“We’ve had a little bit of a run here, little, three games, and we talked about it before the game. This was an important game. It wasn’t a game where we come off a two or three-game losing streak, it wasn’t a division game against Jersey. It wasn’t Boston or Toronto. It’s a Southeast Division opponent and these are the games where we need to learn how to take the next step and be consistent at to win. And we didn’t do that. We did it in minutes through the game, but certainly not through the 60. And that is the next step we’re going to have to take here.
“I think we know how we have to play, I really do. I think the past week or so, early in the year, it’s been a really good thing because it defined how we have to play. We did not play consistently enough (tonight). That’s on us, and we have to find a way to do it better.”
“We’re not good enough to let down. We’re not a good enough team, whether we’re healthy or not.”
He was asked about Stepan’s play flattening out the last few games, and I’m paraphrasing here, because my recorder stopped (because I hadn’t deleted any interviews from the last few weeks so I had to rely on longhand):
“Step, no pun intended, was a step slow in everything tonight. We tried to work him through, and in the third tonight we thought we’d let him watch … We’ll monitor him the rest of the year here.”