Players first, then Tortorella:
“I thought we played really well in Columbus. We just didn’t get the result. We pretty much had the same effort, same gameplan, and we came out on top.
“I think our game was pretty much summed up by Brian Boyle blocking shots with 30 seconds left in the game. He gets one in the hand, blocks another one. That says a lot for our team. We want to get the shutout for Hankie.”
“I think we’re trying to create an identity for ourselves like that, as a hard-working team, finishing checks, blocking shots, and obviously put the puck in the net when we have to. I thought that was a really big game for us tonight.”
“I think it was talked about, having a good start and we came in here confident knowing we played well last night. And it showed. We got a couple early and we just kept rolling.”
“It’s nice to have a third period like that when it’s not so close for a change. It’s good for us to get a few goals and to respond the way we did after a tough one last night.”
“It was good. We’ve played well in back-to-backs all year long and we felt last night we played well enough to get some points, but we obviously didn’t put the puck in the net enough. But to come back and play like we did tonight—everybody chipped in, Hank was awesome; made some big saves for us. It was a huge win for us against a good hockey team and something to hopefully build on.”
“I think their goalie would like to have a couple of them back, but I thought right from the get-go we were outworking them, and when you outwork teams and play hard good things happen and you get rewarded. That was the case tonight for us. We worked hard and guys got rewarded.”
When he could sense the Caps’ frustration?
“Maybe right after I scored my goal, maybe you could sense it a little. But they’re a dangerous team and we knew that even when we were up 4-0. We’ve been in that situation against them before here and ended up on the losing end of it. So we knew we had to keep playing and keep that killer instinct maybe we haven’t had in the past. We were able to keep the foot on the gas and score a few more.”
Surprised about Ovechkin’s fight?
“Not at all. He plays hard. He’s definitely a superstar who plays hard each and every night and he’s a leader of that team. I expected it. I didn’t really expect him to drop his gloves as fast as he did, but he works hard and he’s a competitor.”
Was the discussion with Ovechkin at the end of the first period angry?
“Not at all. I think we have a mutual respect for each other. We’ve met and hung out and talked a couple of times throughout the years and I really respect the way he plays and how hard he is and obviously the skill level he has.
“At the same time, I turn around and my teammate’s on the ice and I try to protect him. And he’s trying to get his team going. So it was just a good battle, and that was all it was. Whether it was him or anybody else, I don’t like to see my teammates on the ice. You hear the crowd give a little ‘oooh’ and it just gets a rise out of you.
“I didn’t see (the hip check). I was facing up the ice and heard the crowd and I turned around and (Dan Girardi) is on the ice. As soon as I turned around, I felt like (Ovechkin) was coming after me and the gloves were off and it happened pretty quick. It was just one of those heat-of-the-moment things and a good battle by a good guy.”
“Right from the get-go, those first few shifts … I had a scoring chance on our first shift of the game. When you have a start like that and create a forecheck right away. I’ve talked about things being contagious, good and bad, and the good things were contagious right off the bat. It was good to get a good jump and get the legs and feel good about yourself, and I think that carried right through 60 minutes of hockey.”
On facing a measuring-stick team like Washington:
“We feel good about ourselves but we want to continue to work hard. We want to be the team that wins the game. We want to be the team that somebody else is talking about, rather than talking about how good they are. We feel that we’re a good team, we’re an elite team in this conference. We just have to work hard and create our identity. We obviously don’t have the offensive firepower that some of the teams in our conference do, but we’ll compete and I think we’re willing to outwork any team in the league.
“It’s good, but I think the way we look at this game is that this is the way we need to play. This is the way the New York Rangers are going to be successful. We don’t expect to score seven goals every night, and some of the goals maybe shouldn’t have gone in. My goal maybe shouldn’t have gone in. So we win the game 3-0 instead on a normal night. That being said, that’s just got to be the way we play every night.”
On getting the shutout in the last few minutes:
“Absolutely. We’re in this together as a team. Hank is our rock back there and we want to have success. Forget about last night. He wanted that one back, but that’s water under the bridge. Everyone makes mistakes. I think the big thing for us tonight was the way he responded. He was amazing tonight. He made some huge saves early in the game. So we wanted to lock it down and get it for him because of the way he showed up tonight and the way he responded.”
“Against this team, you’re never safe, even after we scored the fourth and the fifth. You’re never safe against this team. They get one goal. maybe two quick ones, and it’s a game. So it’s very important that we kept going and didn’t relax. It was a good feeling when we got the sixth goal.”
On how quickly he put Columbus behind him:
“Probably during the day today. It really bothered me last night. I was really frustrated and disappointed. I was happy that they put me in today again so I can get it out of my system and focus on this one. Sometimes when I’m upset with myself I use it as energy and go on to the next game. This was the answer I was looking for: A solid game, and the guys played great in front of me.
“I think they saw how upset I was yesterday and it was a good feeling for me to respond this way. They’ve been great all year, and especially lately, the way they’ve been playing defensively. So it was no surprise to me the way they worked the last 10 minutes. The whole game they played so hard. So it’s great to be a goalie when you have guys like that.”