On these games being as important as wins over Washington and Pittsburgh:
“Absolutely. You’re not going to play error-free or disciplined or just dead-on games. The amount of games you play in this league, it just doesn’t happen. So you’ve got to find a way to win these games, and this is just as big a step for us as a young team as it is beating the Capitals the way we did, or coming back the other night in Pittsburgh.
“I look at Marty Biron; that’s a capsule of how we played. He battled after a start, people chanting for Hank. That’s a hard thing, and he battled through it, made some key saves at key times and found a way to win, and was an important part of it at the end with the shootout.”
On Drury winning faceoffs, particularly on the tying goal:
“He wins the big faceoff, and Sean Avery does a great job from the outside hash, driving to the net, and Step, who I thought struggled through a lot of the game, scores a huge goal. So it’s good. These are small steps for us as we’re trying to win, and I couldn’t be happier for Marty Biron. That’s the guy I’m really happy for because he had to fight a lot of stuff going on around him and he made some key saves at key times to give us an opportunity. And their goalie did, too. At 2-1, he made some great saves. … you don’t want to write it up this way, but it’s a nice way to win a game if you’re involved in it. We found a way to get it done.”
On what he knew about Prust before they got him:
“We didn’t know who he was. I mean, when we traded for him, there was a lot of things (salary-dump issues, etc.) that went into that deal, and Pruster was just a three-minute guy for Calgary. I think he bounced back from Calgary to Phoenix. We knew that he was tough, we knew he had some grit. But to do the things that he’s been doing, he’s part of our core. He’s not home-grown from our minor-league team, or a draft pick, but he has joined in with us and does all the things you ask of him: along the wall, probably one of our better wall players; killing penalties; he’ll fight anybody. And he’s a big part of what we are. You look at a Ryan Callahan, a Prust, that’s what we’re trying to be as a Ranger team, and little by little everybody else is joining in and we’re creating an identity.”
On Christensen, playing very little in the third, but being a weapon in a shootout:
“He is, isn’t he? That’s one hell of a goal he scores there. You just never know when he … and it’s just the world that he’s in within the team. You never know when he’s going to be playing well. When he’s on his game he is a dangerous player. We tried to get him with Gabby a couple of times in the third period just to see if something was there. They had a couple of, not chances, but good shifts. You just never know when it’s going to happen.
“In that situation … we have to do it. You know how I feel about the shootout. But we have to do it. He is a huge weapon for us. That’s just one great goal he scored.”
He was asked, “was there any point in the game where you thought you really missed Callahan?”
“Every minute. Yeah. He’s just such a huge part of our team, in offensive situations, defensive situations, trying to crawl back into it, power play, penalty killing. Cally is who he is. He’s a huge part of our club, but we have to overcome that. We did tonight again. Last night we had him for one shift. I think he played 1:58. So we’re finding ways to do it. But you’re not going to replace him. We just have to figure out how to win games without him, until he gets healthy.
“It’s going to add minutes to Dru. It did tonight. I’m not sure where it’s all going to fall, but everybody’s got to contribute with more minutes, because those are 20-22 huge minutes a game for us. So it’s not going to be one person. It’s going to be more or less a team type situation.”
“They’re a good team. Because we beat Pittsburgh and Washington, people say, ‘Phoenix is in here …’ This is a Western Conference team and that conference is very good. They’re one of the top teams there, well-coached. They tried to neutralize our speed, we tried to neutralize their speed. And for a majority of the game, I thought we did a pretty good job with that, too. But we ended up with a couple of big plays. It’s such a fine line between winning and losing, and we’ve been very fortunate the past couple of nights in finding ways.”