GM1: Coach Ken Hitchcock on Blues 2-1 OT win over Kings

Following the Blues 2-1 OT win over the Kings on Tuesday night, here’s what St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock had to share…

- On how tough it was to regroup from the Justin Williams’ goal:

“I thought the overtime, we probably played a little bit not to lose, and they gained some confidence from it.  So we’re still learning how to win these big games.  I thought for the three periods we played a great hockey game.  We did the things we needed to do, and we played the way we needed to play.  Then when they got that goal, we probably tightened up a little bit.  They showed why they win, because they played with a little more confidence in the OT than we did.”

- On how big of a win this was:

“Hockey Gods took care of us today.  They did.  I mean we played a great hockey game.  Waking up tomorrow would have been a challenge if we didn’t win the hockey game today.  And you hate to say things are must wins, but for us, we’re hopefully gonna gain a lot of confidence from this.  That we can compete with these guys, and not just compete, but actually win.  I think that it would’ve been a shame not to win, but when you’re the defending Stanley Cup champion, you can’t just knock them off.  You’re going to have to stick a pretty big nail in them.  We’re just getting started in this series.”

-On what was said after the third heading into OT:

“You know what?  We didn’t say much.  They were pretty lively in the room, but I think our play was…You just got a feeling that something bad might happen.  So you’re a little bit jittery with the puck and stuff like that.  There wasn’t much to talk about.  When we play, we’re a good team.  When we get ahead of ourselves, and we’re worried about scoring a goal rather than playing the game, I think that’s what teams that have the experience of winning do.  They just play.  We did a great job for 60 minutes, but then in the overtime LA started to play, and we started to play a little bit nervous.  And we’re going to talk about that tomorrow.  It’s a good learning experience.”

On Alex Steen’s goal:

“He re-routed himself on the forecheck, and just such an emotional swing.  You’re down, and you’re figuring out how to kill a four minute penalty, and the next thing you know; the game is over.  That’s what leaders do.  He has really stepped up the last month for this hockey club.  He’s stepped up his game, and he’s stepped up his personality on the team.  He stepped up today, and he played a great hockey game.”

- On if he can remember a time when they executed as well as they did tonight:

“We’ve played a lot like this to be honest with you in the last month.  We did this in Chicago, we did this in Vancouver, we did this in Minny twice.  We’ve played a lot like this.  Maybe not as physical or as emotional as this, because that’s what playoffs are, but we’ve been playing like this at least every second game for over a month now.  This is the way we’ve been playing.  That’s why when I said to you folks, we’re confident that we’re playing as well as we’ve played all year.  We’re playing that way right now.  And all that does is get us an overtime win.  That’s how good the hockey club we’re playing against is.  So we’re going to have to find a way to get better and better as this series moves on, because we know they will.”

- On the importantance of a 1-0 start in the playoffs:

“I think it’s more for us.  From our standpoint we needed to talk about something other than coming close.  We needed to start talking about, here’s how you win.  And you can only go to that well so many times before the players stop believing.  We gave a big push today, and we were rewarded for it.  So we’ve got something to draw on.  We’ve got some experience now to draw on, but if you keep going to the well about ‘knocking on the door,’ I think the players stop listening after a while.  For me, we’ve got something to sell tomorrow morning, and hopefully we come back with a similar effort.”

- On if he lamented missed chances after the Williams’ goal:

“No, my coach Eddie Belfour and I have seen this act before.  He’s a great goalie, and you’re going to have to out-work him out-battle him.  That’s what makes our game really special is that you can play the game really well, and the goalie can still win the hockey game for the opposition.  We won a lot of games with guys like Eddie, because he was the best player in the league at that time.  We got outplayed a lot, especially in some of the series against Colorado, and Eddie stood tall.  And that’s what Jonathan does.  He stands tall, and we’re going to have to find a way on Thursday to out-work him.  If you just live on scoring chances it’s lame.  You gotta find a way to out-work the goalie, and I’ve learned that lesson having one of these guys before.”

- On why the high-stick in OT was a double minor:

“I don’t know, I haven’t looked at that call.  As soon as I’m finished talking to you, I’ve got to go back to work here.”

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