Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/12/07 at 04:00 PM ET
Q. Nick, about the Ducks’ power-play, what did you see strategy-wise, why you were so effective last night?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I thought we were standing in the shooting lanes a lot, taking their lanes to the net. We were being aggressive when we can. Trying to put pressure in the corners, just overall pressure when we can.
I thought Dom came up with some big saves at the right moments for us, too.
Q. Since Holmstrom has come back, you haven’t lost, I’m pretty sure. Can you talk about the impact he’s had, how much you missed him when he was gone, and that goal last night that won it, kind of a typical goal for him?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Yeah, it was. That’s Holmer at his best. When he’s standing in front of the net, being there for tips and screens or rebounds. He’s such a warrior out there, he goes in front. If he gets knocked down, he gets right back up there and gets back in the front of the net again.
You know, that’s what we need on the power play. We need someone with net presence. I think he scored that goal, but if he’s not there, the puck is probably not going to go in. He’s a huge part of our team.
Q. How is your impression of Todd Bertuzzi since you got him personally from playing against him and now playing with him?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: From playing against him, I know he’s tough to defend against. He uses his body to his advantage all the time. I think that’s what we’ve seen in this playoffs, too. He’s good at hanging on to the puck coming out of the corners. I think just his presence alone helps our team. He can be physical. He can go in there and hit and bang and really put pressure on their defensemen.
When he’s got the puck, he’s tough to get the puck away from. That’s probably one of his bigger strengths, I think.
Q. What kind of calm or is there a calm that Dominik Hasek instills in the guys in the room based on his performance? He seems to get stronger as the playoffs go on. Secondly, is there something about him, when he comes out and practices on a day off, coming off of one of his playoff performances, is there a message? I know you lead by example. Is there a message that sends to the rest of the team?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Dom likes to get out there and get a feel of the pucks, getting shots, even a day after a game when he might be tired, he still wants to get some shots on him before the next game.
As far as playing in front of him, I think he gives the whole team confidence when he can make some unbelievable saves that he made last night and in previous games where if we can be there to help him for rebounds, he can usually stop that first shot. We have to be there and clear the puck. But I think he gives the whole team confidence that he can win games by himself.
He did that last night, I thought. He came up big, especially in the third period.
Q. Heading into threes playoffs, this team over the past few years had had difficulty in winning one-goal outcome games. That has changed dramatically in these playoffs. Is it simply a matter of strength in goal and also defense?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Goaltending helps a lot. But I think team defense, too. Just knowing how to play our system, being willing to win games 1-0 or 2-1, not going to the offense all the time which would leave you vulnerable in the back end. I think the patience we have, that we can wait for our chances, not going to gamble and try to create a two-on-one or three-on-two and open up us defensively I think really has helped us.
We’re buying into the team concept, that we’re collapsing down low with the forwards when we have to, we’re playing real tight in front of Dom. On the offensive end, when we do have chances, we have skilled players that can make plays and score goals for us.
Q. Looking ahead to Game 2, is getting more shots one of the things that you want to do better or is that not as much of a concern?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Yeah, I think we have to have more puck control in their zone. I think last night they got out a little bit too easy on their breakouts. We didn’t spend too much time in their end, which will help us get some scoring chances, help us get more shots to the net. I think that’s something we have to work on for Game 2. Really hang on to the puck down low a lot more, really take it to the net a lot more than we did last night.
Q. Given the premium on shot-blocking, the way the layups are taken away, what have you seen from the point now, and is it that much difference from previous years trying to get a shot through?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I think it is different. I think you see a lot of defensemen, you can get the shot by the first guy, the forward, but usually most teams are having their defensemen come out and block that shot instead of battling with the players in front of the net. You saw a lot more balance before in front of the net where you can push guys, try—push guys out of the way.
Now with the new rules, I think you see guys in front of the net taking a step forward, trying to block shots a lot more than previous years.
Q. Are you reluctant to shoot because you can’t get it through? You don’t want to take the shot because you can’t see anything?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: You try to get it through. Sometimes you can’t get it right on the net. You’re looking for a guy off to the side, someone might slide through the side. We’ve tried a few times backing it off the end boards to shoot it to miss the net. The puck is going to bounce, come out in front of the net. That’s something we’ve been working on. Especially when you’re taking risk shots, if there’s a defenseman there, he’s going to take a step forward and knock it down. Unless you have a good shot, a good lane, you try to find someone on the side of the net.
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