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Posted By On April 5, 2011 @ 12:46 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 42 Comments
Sorry it’s a bit late … I’m on the train. Ain’t technology grand? … Prospal ripped the fans a bit for their booing early in the game. Good stuff.
“There’s no easy games left. … I was watching Carolina-Buffalo yesterday, it’s a three-point game. Everybody’s collecting points. So for us, we have to come back after basically trailing the whole game and getting the win with three minutes left, it’s just huge. It’s humongous. Every point is humongous right now.”
“Marc Staal, on the first goal, if he doesn’t keep the puck in we don’t score. Wooly, instead of looking for somebody else, he just shoots the puck and it goes through Thomas and I’m able to collect the rebound, and it puts us back into the game. Obviously, the second goal, now we’re just trailing by one goal and there’s still a lot of hockey left. So, I think the key for us, we just kept it positive. We felt we have the composure to come back today.”
On the Garden exploding late:
“It’s basically us, whoever sits on the bench and the extra guys, because I remember at the beginning of the game, they boo us. So, it shows that for us, for the hockey players, for the bench, coaching staff, for whoever believes in us. Just an hour and a half ago, they booed us. So it’s like, I mean, it’s great that they cheer, but holy smokes, give us some help when we’re down, you know?
“Nothing against them. It’s easy to say right now, because there’s times that they have the right to express their opinion. We’re fighting for big points right now. This is karma.”
“Probably the biggest win of the year, I would say. The way we come back, how important it is right now.”
“They felt so fast and strong in the first period. Thats two different games. It changed to much. You almost got the feeling there’s no way we’re going to win this in the first period. But then halfway through, you know, momentum changed a little bit. After we got the first one we start to think, maybe. We got a good feeling here. The building started going. And when we got the third one, they stopped maybe a little it mentally. When you look at the goals, it was just battle, in front. It as great to see.”
On missing the playoffs last year motivating them:
“It’s 12 months ago, but it’s still fresh in my mind. I know we’ve got a lot of new bodies, but we don’t want to put ourselves in that situation again. I don’t know if we’re still, but I know at one point we were first in the league in third-period comebacks. I don’t know if that’s still true or not. But the resiliency we’ve shown all year is just huge.
“You know, there’s a difference between talking about believing you can do it and actually believing it. We came in between the first and second periods, realized we didn’t play our best hockey. We were a little bit tentative and on our heels a little bit. We were able to reinforce what’s been making us succesful all year, and that’s being aggressive and forechecking, and grinding. And we came out and played a helluva 40 minutes and grinded and won a big game.”
On the Callahan play on the tying goal:
“He was going up (the boards) and whether he made a play to the point or turned around and fired on net — we’re down by a goal there, so, if we’re up by a goal I might be on my way back to our zone in case of a turnover. But we’re down by a goal so I’ve got to try and stay in front of the net in case of a rebound or the contrary, a helluva pass by my linemate. He made a great play there and I had all the time in the world to make a move.”
On the two Prospal goals:
“They were both big because if you’re down three heading into the lockerroom (after two) in this league, against one of the best defensive teams, more than likely it’s insurmountable. But he gets us on the board there, gets us within striking distance, and then obviously the second one’s huge, putting us in position to be just one shot away with momentum that I thought we were building into the third, and into a period that this team’s been their best and most confident all year long. So coming into the intermission there between the second and third, we felt pretty good about our chances if we just continued to be aggressive and played our game.”
“They’re one of the best defensive teams in the league and they’ve got a great goalie in Thomas, so we had to stick to our gameplan, and that was forechecking and keeping it simple, and not trying to do everything yourself, but using your linemates and your teammates and staying away from turnovers. We just kept doing that and we were relentless and resilient as always. Huge emotional win for us.”
On being reunited with Anisimov and Callahan late in the game, and then getting the big goal:
“We’ve worked together all year long, and played together. Torts is just trying to mix it up a little bit and try to create some other combos to get some offense for us. One of them did that — Wolski made some great plays to Vinny for the goals, and Step there. So we’re trying to mix it all up there a bit. But I think at the end of the day, he wanted Cally and I out there together because we’ve been pretty good together all season long, and I think that’s the reason he did it.
“We just forechecked and we forechecked hard, and I don’t want to leave Artie out of it. He battled just as hard as we did. It was a good shift leading up to the goal. We started in one corner, made our way to the other corner, made it back to the other corner, then up to the blue line, so we certainly had the pressure and the energy and the momentum. We just kept going and were consistent and finally they opened up and we were ready to capitalize.”
On when the building exploded after each of the last three goals:
“It gives you goosebumps. It’s a feeling that you can’t describe when you hear that many people going crazy and your team’s going crazy and you fought so hard — I don’t want to sound cliche — but we’ve fought so hard for so many months, we needed these points. So that part of it makes it even that much more emotional.
“We didn’t want to have to watch and see what Carolina did tomorrow night, or is going to do. We wanted to keep ourselves in the driver’s seat. Those things, they really get to you emotionally. That said, we still had a couple of minutes left in the game against a really good team so, I was telling Cally and Staalsie and Boyler and some of the leaders on the team, ‘Try to settle the bench down, settle the guys down, we’ve still got to defend against one of the top teams in the league.’ And when Step scored the empty-netter, I think we knew we had it and we came unglued a little bit there.”
On whether those four minutes were the most important of the season”
“Without a doubt. Every period, every shift, every game from here on out, the next one’s more important than the last one. So that was, like I said, a huge emotional win for this team.”
I asked him, are you gassed:
“I’m exhausted right now, to be honest with you, and I think there’s going to be 20 other guys in here that are exhausted too, because these last two games, we haven’t played perfect through stretches, but I thought our effort and our energy, we really put it on the line and left it all on the ice. It’s good that we have a couple of days (off) here.”
On not playing for OT and the point at 3-3:
“I think we were feeling it, with the energy and the crowd. Unfortunately we didn’t have that energy right from the get-go because stepping onto the ice, it felt like we were in a playoff game here and I know a lot of guys in this lockerroom have never experienced a playoff game here in New York. But that’s the energy it was with John (Amirante) singing the anthem and everything about the game. They (the fans) really came on there towards the end of the game there and it was a perfect ending to a hard-fought game.”
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