On the team stepping up in big games
So far, all the games we’ve really wanted to win, we’ve won. That’s always a good sign, but it doesn’t matter now. The playoffs bring a new season with new challenges. We have to take the next step. Winning those kinds of games gives you confidence, but it’s all about winning in the playoffs, and finding a way to do it. When things aren’t so pretty, you have to challenge your team to see what kind of character you have. I really believe we have that. We have a mission here.
On the final two games of the regular season
We want to finish strong, and of course there might be something on the line during those last two games. But the bottom line is next week is the new season, and that’s all that matters. Last year we couldn’t take the next step, and we want to remind each other that we couldn’t do it last year. Now it’s time to do it. This group has improved from last year, and that’s why the expectations are very high.
On if he’s thought about his final regular season home game on Sunday
A little bit. It’s in many ways sad. But, on the same hand, there’s a lot of happiness and appreciation for everything. At least we know this is going to be the last regular season game. Hopefully it’s going to end with a celebration, but you never know. When that happens, it goes quickly. I try to enjoy it, and it’s been a great road, and journey, so far. It’ll be a very special day for me.
I don’t really know what to expect, but let’s see how it goes. The main focus is to play well. But, it’s always an opportunity to enjoy it, and that’s what it’s all about.
On if today was to build himself up for action tomorrow or Sunday
Nothing specific, but definitely building myself up. I got a full practice in, and it felt pretty good. I think I’m getting closer.
On when he’ll know when he’s ready
It’s just about how I feel on the ice, position-wise, and how I see the puck, too. That’s all coming back pretty good.
On the team’s overall confidence heading into the final two games of the season
We’ve beared down on the little things, like playing a full 60 [minutes]. You can’t take any time off. If you take five minutes off in the playoffs, you’re probably going to lose that game. It’s key to be able to play a full 60 minutes, and do the little things right.
On holding the top spot in the Western Conference
You set goals at the beginning of the year. We won the division and now have a shot at the conference. That’s something huge for us, but it’s not all we’re looking at. We’re trying to gear ourselves up. If we play the right way, things seem to happen for us.
On getting production throughout the lineup
It’s huge. You watch any Stanley Cup team, like the 2007 team here, they had Travis Moen, Samuel Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer on that third line, and they were huge in the playoffs. Those are the guys you need to have late in those runs to take the weight off the big guys. Hopefully, we can keep doing that.
On leading the Western Conference
It’s nice. For me, I came here and the team was doing really well. I feel like I don’t have a big part of it. It’s the guys who have been here all year, who have worked so hard to be No. 1. They’ve been No. 1 in the league for a long time. I’ve just been here for a few weeks, but it would still mean a lot for me, too.
The last two games have been the Anaheim Ducks we know. That’s the type of hockey we play, and we need more of that. Going forward, it’s a good confidence boost knowing that when we play at our best, we’re very successful.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau
On the importance of the next two games
We never really focused on the conference or anything. It was always divisional. Once it’s done, the conference is right there, so you might as well play for the conference. We always want to play to be the best, so it’s pretty tight right now. St. Louis has let a lot of teams crawl back in the mix.
On Daniel Winnik wearing a full cage
He broke his nose, so that’s a little protection. Broken noses to hockey players are like bent finger nails. Everybody’s had them.
We just rested them today. We gave them a day off because they’ve played a lot of hockey, and haven’t had days off from the Olympic break on down. We thought they can use this break before the playoffs start. They’ll be ready tomorrow.
On Cam Fowler
I thought he did a good job [vs. San Jose]. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve missed until it’s gone. I thought he was really good at getting the puck and moving the puck. He was really smooth. It gives you another weapon.
On Frederik Andersen getting in a full practice
It was more about getting him ready. The other guys have been practicing really hard and/or playing. Freddie’s been sitting at home not doing a lot. I thought he needed a real good practice today, whether he’s playing tomorrow or Sunday.
On having three goalies with two games remaining
The math doesn’t work there. I’ve told all the goalies that it’s a game-by-game situation. I told them who’s starting tomorrow. We’ll re-evaluate after the game, and then we’ll take it from there.
On the pressure he’s feeling to make the right decision
I don’t feel any pressure because you just hope you make the right call. There’s a one-in-three chance. One has experience, and two don’t. One has experience of playing 27 games in the NHL, and one has two games. They’re both very good young goalies. I feel comfortable with anybody going in net, quite frankly. You make the decision and you live with it.
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