Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/03/08 at 04:26 PM ET
Q. Marc-Andre, someone was telling me that you might have given Al the octopus guy a little squirt with water just as he was doing his twirling thing. If that’s the case, can you describe what the deal was with that?
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY: It was an accident. I just missed my mouth by a little bit. (Laughter) Yep. I don’t know, it was just at the game he does it to us. And after the first two games, I thought I’ll give him a little something back. And we won, so it’s good.
Q. When you came down to the rink today, how did you feel physically? What’s it like to come back to the rink after a game like that?
PETR SYKORA: Well, I think after coming away with a win like that. You feel great. I think mentally you’re back in it. And I think we have to just go back to the same focus and the same mind-set, like we were before game 5. And I think we all know what we’re going to play for tomorrow. Nothing changes.
We have to win. And I think the building is going to be rocking, and I think we all are excited and hopefully we can get it done tomorrow night.
Q. Petr, you’ve known Gonchar a long time. Can you talk a little bit about how much this means to him and what he brings to the team off the ice, what kind of influence he has on all of these guys, including yourself, off the ice?
PETR SYKORA: I know you gave me this question last night, and I didn’t answer, so I knew it was coming.
He is, he’s a quiet guy. But his way of playing speaks for itself. He’s our best defenseman. He plays the most minutes. He quietly got 65 points again this season. And without him, our power play wouldn’t be playing the way it is.
And he’s a great guy. He’s got a lot of good influence on a lot of young players. And he took care of me when I went to Russia during the lockout year. And I got nothing, just great things to say about him.
Q. You guys have been good all year at putting games behind you and moving on. When you have a game as dramatic as that one, how do you put it behind you and move on quickly for Game 6?
PETR SYKORA: Well, I think the most important thing is don’t think we’re going to come tomorrow, and it’s going to go our way right away.
I think we have to have the mind?set of go back to our system, just play very smart hockey. I think the huge thing in playoffs is to come out with the lead. Even they got back to the game last game, because I felt in the third we were kind of flat out there.
But I think we played very smart in the first and second. We didn’t really give them a lot of odd?man rushes. And I think for us the key is to play 0-0 hockey, and wait for our power play chances or wait for a turnover and try to get a lead. And I think the mind-set should be like that for tomorrow night’s game.
Q. Marc-Andre, why does Max seem to beat you up before the start of every game and every period, what’s all that fighting about?
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY: I don’t know. It’s just when I first came back, we just kind of started with one punch. And things got, been going for a while, got some wins and now we’re going at it. Sometimes threw a couple more.
It’s getting a little ridiculous, but ? (Laughter) but still working on it, that’s it.
Q. Petr, do you feel like you guys end up winning the game last night, but do you guys feel like as a team you kind of saved the game for you and everyone is going to have to step it up for Game 6? Marc-Andre, do you think you have another performance like that in you?
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY: I think I’ll just go one game at a time. And it’s great that we got that win last night. And I think everybody’s looking forward to the next one tomorrow. And as for myself, I’ll be ready. And I’m sure everybody in the room will be ready also. And we just won’t quit. We’re going to go hard and try to get that win again.
PETR SYKORA: Well, I think we got the momentum going right now. And we can’t get too high. We have to, like I said in the previous answer, is just really get to the calm stage like before Game 5. And nothing really changes for us.
I think I know for them they kind of had it in their pocket, and it was going to be hard for them to get up for the game, too. So I think it’s going to be a huge game. I think the preparation is going to be the same for us. And like I said before, it can’t get any better than to be up for games like that. And I think it’s a lot of fun. I can’t wait for tomorrow night, because the building’s going to be really loud here.
And it’s always fun to play big games and to be playing at home. And I just can’t wait to play tomorrow night.
Q. Petr, I can only imagine what it feels like, what it felt like on the bench when Detroit comes back, and then they take the lead. And I mean, they’ve been pretty lights-out with the lead. For you guys to finally erase a deficit of theirs and come back against them, what does that do for your confidence on the bench, maybe if they score first next time, maybe you don’t get up, what does it do for your confidence when you’re in that situation again?
PETR SYKORA: I think coming out of those first couple of games playing there, we couldn’t get a goal, we couldn’t get a scoring chance. I think for us to come up for Game 5 and score a couple of goals and them being down 3-2, then come up with a goal 25 seconds left in the game or whatever it was, I think it’s huge.
I think it’s huge for all of us to know that we can create in Detroit in that building, because it’s very hard to play there. We can get some goals. And I think that’s really ? I think we can carry the confidence to tomorrow night’s game, too. Just to get the momentum. It’s not very easy to play there.
I’ve been playing there a lot of games before and they are very good puck management team. Sometimes it feels like you don’t touch the puck for the whole game, they don’t give you anything. For us to create ? I think we created a lot of chances last night. And came up with the three goals, very important goals. And then overtime. I think that can really give us a confidence boost.
Q. Petr, can you just talk a little bit about your prediction and what made you predict that you were going to score the winning goal, and the feeling that you had when you did score it?
PETR SYKORA: It happens like that, because I haven’t touched the puck the whole game. Nothing was coming to me. I didn’t have a real shot on that. I didn’t have a scoring chance. I went through this before. The overtime in Dallas, I probably didn’t have a shot on that either.
And I know the puck is going to come in. It was a long game, so like it had to happen. And I think both of us, Geno, we were struggling offensively. And Geno had a pretty big scoring chance in the first overtime, and he had that good shot. And Osgood made a save.
And I just kind of ? I just kind of want to get a little looser. I didn’t feel I was going to score, but just to get a little looser out there and make a comment like that, get the guys a little laugh in the locker room. And I’m not complaining that it worked.
Q. Marc-Andre, the guys were talking about Sid and Max said the series would be over if it wasn’t for you. Do you think this is the greatest game you’ve ever played?
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY: I think so. It was certainly the toughest and the longest, but it was just a great feeling, though, to come out with the win at the end there.
Q. Petr, you mentioned that you were struggling and it wasn’t going your way for most of this series. For you personally, what does a goal like that do? Do you now feel like you personally are now back in this series?
PETR SYKORA: Well, obviously you feel so much better. Sometimes a goal like that can really get you going. But you know what, I didn’t really not care, but I didn’t really worry about the scoring. Right now my focus is just to win.
I’ve been in the Finals the last couple of times, and I came up short. I’m just very happy that this goal kind of gave us a chance and gave us another day to live, basically.
And I felt if you can come up with that win last night and get that Game 6 here in Pitt, and we play well at home, that we could have a chance to go back there. And, yeah, obviously it felt good. It’s something very special when you can get an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially in the Finals.
And I was confident before, just nothing really was coming to me. And I felt that Geno had a strong game, too. And for us to be successful as a team, coming for tomorrow night’s game and get a win, I think me and Geno, we have to come up with some offense again. And I think that was a good start last night.
Q. When the puck is on the other end of the ice or between periods, or, Petr, between shifts, are you guys able to take a step back at all and appreciate how entertaining this series has been, or how entertaining that game is?
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY: Yeah, I think we had lots of time last night; the game was so long for us all. But at the same time you don’t want to get carried away.
You just want to try to keep doing your job, and for me, just to try to make that next save, try to keep the game going fast. But at the same time, though, it’s good work what we’re doing right now, we’re in the Stanley Cup Final. And we’re not done here, so it’s been pretty good.
Q. You guys have been doing this all year, coming from behind. You’re probably the best come?from?behind team in hockey. Going back to Ottawa game in November, the western road trip where you came back in a couple of games, you had a Capitals game you were down 2?0 late and you scored two. How did that regular season, you did this so many times in the regular season, how did that help you last night?
PETR SYKORA: I don’t really know, but when I look at our team, I think we have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. I think we can put pressure on the teams when we need to, because we don’t just have a one line who can score goals. We can really have some pressure going with the three lines.
And I think it always seems at the right time the people who you don’t expect to score come up with a huge goal. And I can’t say enough about Max, the way he’s played in the playoffs, came off with a huge goal last night to tie the game. There is different times, different players come up with those big goals. And I think that’s a sign of a good team. And it’s fun to be part of it.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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