Belated, from the NHL:
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Alain, what can you say about the play of Kevin Bieksa right now?
COACH VIGNEAULT: He played a real solid game again tonight and I thought both ends of the rink. Obviously his goal was a great passing execution there. He beat their goaltender in the five hole. But he’s competing real hard. He’s playing real well for us.
Q. Todd says he expects Ben Eager to be 100% Friday. What is your take on his hit on Daniel Sedin? Should it have been a major or should it be reviewed?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, obviously, Danny embellished that. The league will do the right thing. It was great embellishment.
Q. You mean, he got up too fast?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You guys saw the hit. I’m confident that the league’s going to do the right thing.
Q. Your team’s discipline, it paid dividends tonight. That says a lot.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I mean, I think we’ve been that way all year long. We’ve talked about playing whistle to whistle, staying disciplined. That’s what we’ve done throughout the playoff.
We did it again tonight. When their fourth-line player took a run at the NHL leading scorer, possibly the MVP, we stayed focused, we stayed disciplined. You know, we went out and played.
We’re confident that the league’s going to do the right thing.
Q. He’s running around, you don’t make him pay with the power-play? Is that the difference tonight? You hurt them with the extra minutes?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think this year, anytime a team has tried to, I don’t know, play us maybe a chipier way, our power-play has always responded. I thought tonight we moved the puck well. I thought we were physical when we needed to be, when the opportunity was there.
Obviously, power-play tonight at the right time got us important goals. Now we’re going to turn the page on this one and focus on the next game.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about how Daniel was playing tonight and how he answered after the Eager hit.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I mean, that whole line tonight obviously had some quality shifts on the ice. They spent a lot of time in the other team’s end protecting the puck, getting great chances.
I think the other thing they did well tonight was they created a lot on the rush. Our D’s were able to jump in the attack and able to find them. They got some grade A scoring chances and played real well.
Q. Is it the way the Sedins are being defended?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think it’s probably a combination of they’re obviously very motivated right now, confident. We said before this series that we needed them to step up. They have for the first two games. We need it to continue.
Q. Is that the most complete game your team has played in the post-season?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You know, we’ve played some really good games that have been tighter and lower scoring. Tonight in the third period our power-play just took over because of Eager’s penalty there, et cetera, et cetera. So we made them pay and took over the game.
Q. What does it say about Bieksa that nights like this are almost becoming the expectation for him? He’s expected to play this exact way. What does it say about him?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, obviously we’ve all known that Kevin is a character guy and a real competitor. That’s what he did tonight. That’s what he’s done for us consistently this year.
On the Marleau fight, it was Marleau that dropped the glove it wasn’t Kevin Bieksa. Eager was ranting and raving at his bench, he was going berserk. It wasn’t Kevin that dropped the mitts, it was Marleau that dropped the mitts. Not sure what he was supposed to do there.
Q. What do you expect from San Jose on their turf?
COACH VIGNEAULT: We expect them to play hard. They’re one of the best teams in the NHL. They’ve got a highly skilled set there, real competitors. We’re going to practice tomorrow and fly to San Jose and get ready for a real tough game.
Q. I know Aaron Rome’s goal wasn’t the biggest one of the night. He told me he didn’t know what he was doing behind their net.
COACH VIGNEAULT: It was a set play (laughter).
Q. Can you comment on how well he’s played for you, why he’s made the lineup recently?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Because he’s playing well in our mind at both ends of the rink. He’s been physical. He’s been confident with the puck. When the opportunity to jump in the attack is there, he’s jumped. That’s what we want our defense to do.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Todd, would it be fair to say the entire complexion of this game changed with Eager’s hit followed by his tripping call or is that oversimplifying?
COACH McLELLAN: I think that’s oversimplifying. They had more battle in their game than we did. This time of the year when you have more battle and more of a tenacity to your game, you’re going to win.
Ben Eager’s hit, it started a bit of a frustration level on our team. We didn’t handle it very well. It obviously grew from there.
But I thought one of the turning points, in my opinion, was their third goal. We have a set forecheck. We’ve practiced that since September. A player gets skated, all of a sudden it’s in your net. You can’t chase this team. They’re too good. You have to play with him or ahead of them. From there it started to unravel.
Q. Do you believe your team lost its composure at times in the third period?
COACH McLELLAN: Yup. Without a doubt. I’m not going to sit here and try to protect them. We lost composure, we were frustrated. As I said earlier, when you’re second, you tend to be frustrated.
We’ve got some work to do. We’ve got some guys that need to ask themselves some questions, answer them, and pull the skates a little tighter.
Q. What’s happening right now with this team?
COACH McLELLAN: We’re playing against very good opponents. Tonight, in looking back, comparing it to Game 1, I thought we did skate better though. I thought we created more of a forecheck tonight.
But the ability to sustain, it wasn’t there again. All of a sudden you’re chasing the game. You have to perfect the minor details. And they’re doing a much better job of it, whether it’s faceoff coverage, whether it’s a set forecheck, whether it’s just their first goal. Penalty killing, it’s on their tape, we’re 20 seconds left into a penalty kill, we want to play one-on-one in the neutral zone.
They’re doing a much better job of those little details than we are right now.
Q. It was a one-goal game at the end of two periods. Not that you saw this coming, but did you already feel your team was being out-battled at that point?
COACH McLELLAN: Yeah. I still thought there was room for improvement. You know, we talk in numbers as coaches. We didn’t have enough players. We had some guys that really showed up and committed themselves to the team. Then we had some guys that weren’t sure.
Q. How close is this from either becoming a series or slipping away?
COACH McLELLAN: Well, we’re going home. A real wise guy once told me that you’re never really, really in trouble in a series till you lose a game at home. We haven’t done that and we don’t plan on doing that.
We’ve got to regroup. We’ve got to find some composure, take our battle level up. With that being said, as I mentioned, there’s a few people in our group, and I’m not going to hide them anymore, they have to ask themselves whether or not they want to keep on competing.
I’ll hide that part. You guys get to decide.
Q. Tell me what you want Eager to do?
COACH McLELLAN: Ben Eager is one of our faster forwards, one of our more physical forwards. I think he has the ability to win battles and create scrums. I do believe the other team knows when he’s on the ice. The fact that Ben played a lot more minutes tonight was rewarding for us.
Now the negative. He can’t march to the penalty box on an ongoing basis. The tradeoff obviously didn’t work in our favor tonight.
Q. Altogether, not what you wanted?
COACH McLELLAN: I’d like him to play that game, without going to the penalty box. Simple as that.
Q. The Marleau fights, what impact did that have on the game?
COACH McLELLAN: I’m not sure it had a major impact on the game at all. I thought maybe at that point we got a little frustrated because we wanted to even the score. That was Ben Eager taking a run at one of the Sedins. It probably grew from there a little bit.
But at this point, you’ve got to have your emotions in check. You’ve got to maintain some composure. You’re never really out of it. We saw that last night. I think we talked about the Boston game. You’re never really out of it. We’ve been down four and been able to fight back.
Composure all the way through the night is important, sticking to a game plan.
Q. You wanted to be more physical, slow them down?
COACH McLELLAN: Who are we talking about?
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH McLELLAN: We wanted to win more battles than we won in Game 1. If you want to call that physical, yeah. I think we were better than we were in Game 1. Believe it or not, we lost, whatever the score was, 7-3, we were a better team tonight than we were in Game 1, less the frustration and the composure, taking penalties.
Q. We’re in the conference final. Your team was here last year. Some of the guys you talk about are veteran guys who played the Olympics, been around a long time. We’re talking about making fundamental mistakes. What gives?
COACH McLELLAN: I’m not sure. We haven’t made that many heading in here. We wouldn’t have got to this point. We wouldn’t have got by that Red team we played last week.
Doing that right now, I think we have to give credit to the opponent and we have to remember they’re playing awfully hard, they have a good game plan, and they’re executing it better than we’re executing ours. They’re playing a little bit harder than we are. As a result, you tend to make more mistakes, you tend to get frustrated. When you get frustrated, you tend to take penalties. It’s just a vicious circle. That could be one of the reasons why.
Q. Is it fair to say you’d take Eager’s effort over the bad?
COACH McLELLAN: We talked about that, yeah. I’ll take Ben Eager’s game without the penalties any night. He was an honest guy, battled hard, skated, fought through everything.
Q. That said, do you think he crossed the line on some of those penalties? Do you expect to have him available for Game 3?
COACH McLELLAN: Absolutely, 100% available for Game 3. Didn’t see him cross the line at all.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Kevin, can you take us through what led to the fight with Marleau and the impact you think that had on the game.
KEVIN BIEKSA: I don’t know about the impact on the game. First game we play a lot of shifts, pretty much every shift, against each other. It’s looking like we’re going to play every shift against each other for the rest of the series.
I don’t know what started it. Just two guys battling. Turned out to be a good battle. He did a good job. After that, he skated to the box. It was fine.
Q. After that fight, Eager called you a phoney. Care to comment on those comments?
KEVIN BIEKSA: Obviously I’m not going to say too much about that. Right now my focus is on winning a series. If they want to worry about that kind of stuff, that’s fine, that’s to our advantage. Our power-play did a great job tonight of making them pay for some of their penalties.
Our focus is on winning a series. That’s the important thing.
Q. Have you heard from the boys in the locker room from the Gordie Howe hat trick?
KEVIN BIEKSA: Yeah, I’ve heard about it. Burr is probably the first guy obviously to chirp me about it. Yeah, it’s great, I guess. The main thing is we got the win, so that’s why I’m happy.
Q. Twice you’ve scored off the rush like that. Are you finding more opportunities against this team to go the way you do with speed? Henrik, could you comment on the goal, what it did for the game.
KEVIN BIEKSA: Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m getting any more chances than usual. There’s opportunities in a game where you can jump up in the play. That was one.
When there was the opportunity to make an odd-man rush, you go. All six of us have the green light to do that. It was just a set play drawn up for a breakout. There was some open ice and I just took it.
HENRIK SEDIN: Yeah, I mean Kevin has always been really good at joining the rush, reading plays like that. I think this year playing with Hamhuis gives him a lot of freedom to jump up in the play. That’s one of the his strengths. He’s done a great job all year of it.
Q. Daniel, what is your take on the Eager hit? Do you think it should be reviewed? He certainly ran you from behind pretty hard.
DANIEL SEDIN: I turned my back. I didn’t realize he was coming that hard. But it’s going to happen in a game. I’m fine. So that’s all that matters.
Q. As skilled players, do you expect the officials to call the game or do the right things? Was that the right thing?
DANIEL SEDIN: Got two minutes. I don’t know if it should have been more. The referee has done a great job I think throughout the playoffs to make the right calls, so we’re happy.
Q. Kevin, do you think the series has taken a real nasty turn now?
KEVIN BIEKSA: I think it’s the same as it was at the beginning. I think we came in here expecting it to be a battle. It usually is with San Jose. I don’t think we’ve really had too many easy games with these guys. They’re a lot of big bodies over there, they’re physical. Always seem to play with a lot of emotion, intensity.
Being at the Western Conference final, obviously we expect it to be high intensity, high emotion. We expect it to get even better as the series goes on.
Q. Daniel, talk about the space that you were getting, more chances for creativity?
DANIEL SEDIN: I think our power-play was clicking pretty good tonight. I think that was the main thing. I thought we played better in the first game. But tonight we were fortunate to get a goal there.
But, I mean, it’s a good team over there. They like to attack. It opens up things a little bit. But I said it before, it’s still a very good defensive team.
Q. Kevin, do you think the fight with Marleau is what caused them to start losing their composure? If so, is that a good thing for you guys?
KEVIN BIEKSA: Yeah, I don’t know. I can’t see in their heads, but I’m not sure what got them rattled. I don’t really care too much about how they’re feeling. I know we scored a couple big goals in the second. For whatever reason, they took some penalties in the third.
That’s been the strength of our team all year, is our power-play. A lot of the games we’ve won by three, four goals, they were close games until the other team started to get undisciplined. And on our power-play we capitalized.
Like Danny said, our power-play is going right now, we’re scoring goals, so that’s how we keep teams honest.
Q. Seems like this could go one of two ways: they could rally themselves or you could get the confidence that the power-play works and you have an end result. How much stronger does it make this team that you held your composure and have a result like this? Works in your favor more?
HENRIK SEDIN: I think we’ve done it all year. This is another game for us. We go out there, play our game, trust each other. That’s been our focus all year. So it’s nothing new tonight.
It’s going to be a new game on Friday here. Got to focus on that one from tonight on. That’s what we’re doing.