Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 06/01/08 at 12:34 AM ET
11:50pm ET: Updated below with some comments from Chris Osgood added.
Q. Henrik, can you describe just in general your defense tonight and specifically your defense on the five‑on‑three?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: That was the one thing we wanted to do a little better today. We want to have a little bit more poise in our own end.
We wanted to make some good decisions down there. I think we did. They got opportunity to tie up the game with the five‑on‑three in the end there.
We played good. We tried to keep them outside and tried to be in the shooting lanes. And when they got a puck through, Ozzie made a save.
Q. Nick, on Ozzie, people always say, is he a product of this team tonight, but it looked like tonight he won this game for you; he made a number of point‑blank saves on some pretty talented players?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: He did. Not just on that five‑on‑three, but throughout the whole game I thought he made some key saves, and he was great to the shooter most of the time. He got the rebounds too. And on the five‑on‑three, I thought he made two or three huge saves for us. He had point‑blank chances.
We tried to be in the lanes, and take away the passing lanes as well. But it’s tough when you’re down a couple players, but he did a tremendous job for us, especially on the five‑on‑three. But really carried the game for us.
Q. Nick, you mentioned the five‑on‑three a couple of times, but throughout the game your penalty kill was very effective. Did you guys do something tactically different tonight that made it so?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I thought we tried to be a little more aggressive, even up ice, if we could put pressure on the puck here a little bit more. Once they came into our zone, if they weren’t really set up, we tried to put more pressure on them, be more aggressive, and not sit back and give them the passing lanes.
They still got a goal on the first power play they had. But after that, I thought we played a lot better. A lot more aggressive, too.
Q. Coach Babcock said that he thought you played fantastic tonight, Hank. Can you give us your own impression of how you felt about yourself?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: I felt pretty good. I had good legs. I think our line played a little better today than we did last time.
We tried to shoot a little bit more and spend a little more time in their end. And we wanted to play good defense, and I think we did that. And with that we create some offense. And I think Pavel and Cleary was tremendous today, too.
And it was a good day.
Q. Nick, throughout your career you’ve had so many opportunities where you’ve been one game away from winning something, like a championship or Stanley Cup. Does it ever get old? Is the excitement the same?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: It never gets old. We know as a team we haven’t won anything yet. We won three games. We have to win four to win the Stanley Cup. But we know that in our locker room, too.
But sure, you’re excited about being in a position like this. This is what you play for all year long. When training camp starts, you’re preparing to be in a situation like this. So this is where you want to be, have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Q. For both of you, two of you shared in a tremendous victory a couple of years ago at the Olympics. And you’re getting awfully close to one here. Can you compare the feeling of getting close to that gold medal to what’s going on right now?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Well, it’s a little bit different going to play in the Olympic tournament or playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. You’ve been with the team throughout the whole season. You’ve been through almost two months of playoff hockey. And going to the Olympics you play ‑ I think we played eight games in 12 nights. So it’s a pretty short tournament and it goes by quick.
But when you have a chance to be in a situation like we were in Italy, or in a situation where like now, right now, you’re excited. You’re really excited to be in a situation like this where you want to be.
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: It’s the same. You spend such a long time, so much time with the players. And it’s fun to go far in the playoffs. I think it’s a little different for the Olympics. You go there and you don’t practice, you just go there and play games. And have, like Nick said, eight games in 12 days. If you’re on a roll, you can make something good happen. But here in playoffs it’s minimal games and you have to be better throughout a longer period.
Q. Nick, given the kind of game it was, hard‑fought, really bruising game, it seemed to be, were you surprised at the call that gave them the long five‑on‑three?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: A little bit. I was on the ice. I didn’t see the whole play. I know they tried to jump by Lilja was on the play when they got the penalty. If he’s trying to hold them up or if he’s turning to go back to get the puck, it’s tough to see on the ice where I was. But we fought through that. We battled through it. We had another penalty a little bit later on that we killed off as well.
So it was very important for the team to be able to prove to ourselves we can kill those types of penalties off. And I thought our battle levels got higher and higher as the game went along, too. I thought the first period they won a lot of one‑on‑one battles for the puck, whereas second half of the game I thought we were quicker on pucks.
We won those battles that we didn’t win the first half of the game.
Q. Hank, is that as good or as great a minute and 45 seconds or whatever it was as you’ve played in your life?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: What part?
Q. The five‑on‑three?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: It’s tough to compare. You know, they had a great opportunity to tie it up. And it’s a challenge to play against such good players, especially when you’re down two guys; they have a lot of room.
And you practice a lot on it during the year, and it’s fun to have a chance to do it in a game.
Q. Henrik, this is somewhat new for you. Can you describe what it’s like to be one victory from the Stanley Cup?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: We’ve been playing good all year and all through the playoffs. So it’s exciting. We know we have to play at our best, otherwise we will not win games. And we just try to get one game at a time, and now we’re going home to play in our home arena. But we just have to play the way we won and do the little things right.
If we let up on that, we will not win games.
Q. Nick, does the possibility being the first European captain to hoist the Stanley Cup weigh on your mind?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I try not to think about it. It’s been brought up a lot from the media. But I tried not to think about that. I’m trying to think more about having a chance to win another Cup. And it’s something that I try to push back and not think too much about.
Q. Nick, you said earlier, it never gets old. But you’ve got so many guys in the room who have done this before. Does that make it any easier the next time you get there to control those emotions and just play it as another game?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: You know what to expect. I think that’s one difference, when you’ve been in situations like this. Before you know what it feels like, you know what you have to do. Having said that, you still have to show up and play your best, too. You know you have to go out and play with the same type of game we played tonight. Hard‑fought game. And we battled hard and really didn’t give up anything.
That’s the way we have to approach the next game, too. This is not over yet. We have to win one more game to be able to win it all.
Q. Could you talk about that five‑on‑three, and what do you think it means for this team. And if this keeps going the way it’s going, do you think this will be the turning point of the series?
CHRIS OSGOOD: It was a big time for us. We were in the box too much in the first, deservingly so. All the penalties we took were penalties tonight. They were skating well, and we just did a great job, getting in the shooting lane on the penalty kill. It wasn’t like they weren’t shooting. They were. We blocked a ton of shots, and we were able to get in the shooting lane and get the puck and retrieve it and shoot it down.
We were a little lucky, too, at the same time. It bounced back to our guys. But all in all, we did a great job.
Q. I know you’ve told us countless times you take things in stride, you live in the moment. But you’ve just played one of your best games of the playoffs. You made a number of point‑blank saves and won a 2‑1 game. To put your team towards the Cup, when you go home tonight, isn’t that going to be a pretty sweet feeling?
CHRIS OSGOOD: I’ve always approached it ‑ I have talked about it before, but I’m not going to think about anything tonight on the ride home. I’ll clear my mind all day tomorrow and not even think about anything. Just come to the rink and be prepared to play another game.
Sounds boring, but that’s the way I’ve approached it all playoffs. It’s fun for me when the game starts. That’s my most enjoyable time of the entire playoffs is when I get out there, have my mind free and just play. That’s what I plan on doing on Monday.
Q. When you see one of these superstars coming in on you, is there any extra rush than just a normal player, say, Malkin or Crosby coming in?
CHRIS OSGOOD: It’s fun playing against this team, because they skate well and it’s end‑to‑end action. There’s a lot of passing. There’s not a lot of stoppages in play. So I enjoy it. I notice who it is when they’re out there on faceoffs in the neutral zone, but when they’re shooting, I’m so focused on the puck itself sometimes I don’t know who it is. But there are times I realize it’s Crosby or Malkin or Hossa is a great player as well. They have a lot.
But I just try to make myself big and be patient, because these guys are All-Star players and world class guys. I’m just trying to get in front of it the best I can, because they do have great moves. And it’s great to play against them. It’s a lot of fun for me.
Q. You clearly shrugged off that early goal. How were you able to do it so easily?
CHRIS OSGOOD: I don’t really think about it after it was done. Hossa made a great play. I mean, the guy has unbelievable hands. Not many guys can do that move. He just kind of grabbed the puck and fired at the center and got ready to play again. That’s my approach. I don’t really look at streaks and records and who wins when they score first.
You play in that particular game that moment and that’s how our team approaches it, and so do I. I didn’t think just because they scored the first goal we were going to lose the game tonight. We don’t think that as a team.
We think we can come back and we have good composed team, and we knew we could win. But we had to play very, very well to win.
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