An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. At the end of the regular season you said we haven’t gotten a lot of five-on-threes. You got some tonight. Salo in that spot instead of Ehrhoff seemed to make a difference.
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, I think without a doubt Sami’s shot is a big weapon. We tried it last game on those five-on-threes. I thought we had some great scoring chances, but their goaltender made some unbelievable saves.
Tonight we were able to throw a couple little things at them that maybe caught them off guard on that five-on-three. Sami’s shot was available and we used it twice real quickly and it worked.
Q. Alain, when you get a parade of penalties like that on both sides, is there any way to predict a game like that?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, obviously in any hockey game you prepare your power-play and your penalty killing. We killed the penalties that we had to kill at the beginning. I thought that gave us a little bit of momentum and confidence.
The five-on-threes that we got, one the referee has to call, too many men on the ice, it’s obvious. The other one they shot over the glass. Referees didn’t really have to make those calls. They’re automatics. Five-on-three did what it was supposed to do.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Henrik’s ability to set up, in this game in particular?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I mean, Henrik’s probably biggest asset is the fact that he can see plays and make plays when there’s a lot of pressure. Again, tonight that line did that for us.
They’re our offensive players and we need them to produce and they did tonight.
Q. All season long you said your team has been very good at being able to focus on the game at hand. This next game is obviously a big one. Are you confident your group can put that out of their minds?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Give me half an hour to have a little bit of fun here and then ask me tomorrow about that. I want to enjoy this a little bit here.
But to answer your question, I am very confident about that.
Q. The PK to start the series, gave up five power-play goals to the Sharks, then since then pretty much shut them down. What has been the difference?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You know, sometimes that happens. We gave up four power-play goals to them on four shots. We were in good position. We were doing the right things.
Sometimes, whether it be our power-play or their power-play, it just clicks for whatever reason. We were able to fight through that, ’cause obviously that’s challenging. Tonight we were really tested early. Our guys were able to respond and get the job done.
Q. You go with Tanev and Ballard today. Your thoughts on their contributions?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I thought both of them, considering the stage, both of them played well. I had a really tough decision to make there, not dressing Andrew Alberts. I told him before the game. Andrew is a great individual. It was really a tough thing for me to tell him.
At the end of the day, I wanted a right defenseman, a guy that’s used to playing the right side. Neither Keith nor Andrew have played a lot of right side.
When Chris was called on to play for us this year, he played real well. I thought Keith played his best hockey with Chris. That’s why I made that decision.
Q. Can you just comment, apparently over 4,000 Vancouver Canuck fans came down here.
COACH VIGNEAULT: That’s phenomenal. In warmup, during the anthem, to hear our fans in an American city chant, ‘O Canada,’ it was just incredible. It reminded me a lot when we went on that California swing, Anaheim, L.A., and ended up in Phoenix, where I think we had something like between 5,000 and 10,000 fans following us.
Really appreciate the support we’re getting right now.
Q. Talk a little bit about Salo’s role, obviously the two goals, but he did take on a lot more responsibility.
COACH VIGNEAULT: He logged some very important minutes. Sami is one of our veteran players. He’s been here for a long time. A very important part of our core group.
I think he understands that, you know, you don’t get too many opportunities. Maybe he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities left, considering he’s getting a little bit older. So obviously he’s very motivated right now, playing real well for us.
Nobody is going to ask me about my goalie?
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Your power-play, you came in today 46%. Was there an adjust that they made today that was the difference or your execution?
COACH McLELLAN: I think the game itself was played, in my opinion, in three different phases. The first phase of the game was when we had our power-play opportunities. And we obviously weren’t very sharp.
They tightened things up. They stood at their line a little bit better. But when you look at our execution, our passing, our faceoff opportunities to win pucks, we started breaking down all the time.
You have to, when you’re against the number one penalty kill in the league, you have to be sharp, and we weren’t. It was as simple as that. As you start rolling, you get more and more frustrated, you start to press a little bit. It snowballs, it gets worse and worse.
Q. Can you update us on Thornton’s situation?
COACH McLELLAN: I can’t right now. We’ll see once I get an update.
Q. Todd, just your thought on the three five-on-threes, if you’ve ever seen that before, and the calls?
COACH McLELLAN: First of all, the five-on-three situation, I didn’t like the penalties that originated Heater’s penalty, a turnover at the line, we take the hook. Mitch’s penalty, he reached in. Then it snowballs from there. In two and a half minutes, we kept marching to the box, they kept scoring.
It’s hard to argue the too many men on the ice penalty. It’s hard to argue the shooting the puck out of the play.
I can’t sit here and whine and bitch about the officiating, because it had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was the team in the white that created that mess.
Q. You’re referring to three phases of the game. I think you only got through one.
COACH McLELLAN: The first phase obviously was the lack of execution. We weren’t sharp. Power-play sucked some of the life out of our team, obviously.
We got to the break. We were coming out on another power-play. We talked about it a little bit. There again, we don’t execute. We don’t do what we want to do.
After that we get into that penalty kill phase. Two and a half minutes of straight five-on-three, having Salo there gave us a completely different look. We saw it late in the five-on-three. But a right-handed shot and a one-timer off the side that they like to work, you have to find ways to get in those lines. Shifted well.
Then the third phase of the game I thought was where we started to play, we started to compete. Not compete, but we just weren’t sharp. Had nothing to do with competing. We got a lot sharper. We threw everything we had at them.
But you’re not giving up three five-on-three power-play goals and coming back on that team, it’s just not happening.
Q. When you talk about not being sharp, is that a mental thing or a physical thing?
COACH McLELLAN: I wish I had the answer. You could see it. We got what we wanted. We got some energy. We got the crowd into it. We earned opportunities on the power-play. You could see the passes. We watched a couple of them. The passing was off. The receiving was off. The timing was off. There wasn’t much rhythm. I have to believe some of that’s mental, some of it’s physical, a combination of both.
Q. You often talk about how your team likes to play with its back against the wall. What are you going to tell them about Game 5?
COACH McLELLAN: Probably not a lot I have to tell them. Their backs are against the wall as close as they can be. We kind of laid it on the line in the third period tonight, that third phase, if you will, that’s what we’ll be looking to do in Vancouver.
We know we’ve got a tough task ahead of us. Vancouver knows, we know, Detroit knows, Chicago knows that anything can happen.
Q. Is the bigger challenge mental preparation or adjustments?
COACH McLELLAN: It’s always both. It’s always both. We’ve got to clean some parts of our game up. Obviously the power-play has to be better. When you get those opportunities, you have to take at least advantage of one, maybe two of them. It has to be better, so we’ll look at that.
But we’ve got a little bit of time here over the next day or two to regroup and to get ready to play.
Q. I know you tried different ways to get this team prepared for games. Why weren’t they ready at the start today? What do you do before Game 5?
COACH McLELLAN: I think I answered that earlier. I don’t have the answer for that. Obviously if I did, we would be well on our way and we wouldn’t have been that sloppy early in the game.
Individuals have to prepare properly. The coaching staff is responsible for having the team ready, having them sharp, having them alert. Like I said, we got the start we wanted. It was probably one area of the game, the power-play, that really let us down.
Q. What can you say about Dany Heatley’s play in the series so far?
COACH McLELLAN: Well, Dany Heatley, like a lot of our players, we expect a little bit more from him. I think he has to find a way to put himself in better position on the ice to score. We’ll get that from him in Game 5.
Q. Todd, effort and scheme aside, do you have the talent to win the next three games?
COACH McLELLAN: We’re going to find out.
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