Game 6: Ducks and Stars talk Anaheim win in Big D

Stars Ducks Game 6
It looked like the Dallas Stars were going to force a Game 7, as they were leading by two goals with just a few minutes remaining in regulation. Then the Pacific Division Champions dug deep. As they did several times during the regular season, the Anaheim Ducks found a way to tie it and win in overtime. Following the traditional handshakes that ended the series, here is what players in both locker rooms were saying about the Ducks eliminating the Stars in Game 6…

Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff on holding off Anaheim late in the game:

“It breaks down to just being a penalty-killing situation. That third one snuck in from a very tough angle and there wasn’t a lot you could do structure-wise against that. Then, they got a pretty good bounce on the fourth goal to tie it up.”

Ruff on talking to the team prior to overtime:

“I told them what I had been telling them all year, to bring focus and be ready to play. I thought we came out good to start but just lost coverage on the overtime goal. The room was upbeat and I told everyone to pick their heads up and be ready to go. It’s a cruel lesson but it gives us a platform to build on. There was so much good in that game from the opening play that we set up for a breakaway to set the tone for the game. The battle and compete from this team has been unbelievable. I’m proud of the way they played – they played really hard. They had them frustrated but they just got goaded into a penalty at the end which is tough. It’s a learning experience, that’s a young mistake.”

Ruff on losing the series despite being competitive:

“I would say that it’s tough to lose considering how well we played the whole series. We would just dominate periods where the only thing missing was a little bit of finish. You can go back to game two where we were dominating and we could have been the team that scored late. We had a couple of opportunities to tie it up and we missed those opportunities. We talked this morning about our finish and we had it right there tonight at 4-2 with two minutes. But it’s a cruel way – sometimes hockey is cruel and it was to a bunch of guys that worked really hard tonight.”

Ruff on the performance of Trevor Daley:

“Spectacular. (Daley) really brought his A game. How often do you see a (defenseman) score two breakaways? He defended against the best players in the league all year and offensively he was really coming on. He was a machine with the number of minutes he was playing.”

Ruff on how he looks at the team after the playoff series:

“You can’t sit here and look for blame in a game like that, there’s too much good. We have to learn from a couple of the incidents on the ice just like we learned from the incidents in game five. Those players turned it around and were very good players again for us tonight. We have a young team with young playoff experience and we got ourselves in a situation where we didn’t need to put ourselves but our fans can be awfully proud of those guys that stepped on the ice and I was awfully proud of our fans. I don’t think half of them sat down the whole game. This building was something that helped push these guys and you could just feel the energy. That’s something special.”

Ruff on the growth of the young guys from the beginning of this series:

“I trusted every one of them. We have a system that we play, and they know how to play in it. You look at the Eakin line what they were doing tonight and again they got on the score sheet, all young players no playoff experience, playing against one of the best lines in the league. It’s a great platform to push off of; my job is to make them understand how difficult it really is. We’ve set our bar at a certain level and now we have to push above that. That takes incredible work ethic, it’s hard to get in the playoffs. You guys know that, I know that, we hadn’t been in there but the work we put in the second half, some of the adversity we faced, this strong-enough-to-push-back-from, down two-nothing in this series, made us bring our A game. You ask what I thought our team would bring? They brought the best they could possibly bring tonight. And I told them, and I’ll say it again, I was damn proud of the way they played. I was proud of the way they competed. It’s a fun team to coach, it really is. Embrace this because we got some good players that are pushing through. My job now is to make them understand how hard it is to repeat it and to get better.”

Stars Captain Jamie Benn on Anaheim coming back:

“It happened so fast so it’s a bit of a shock, but I’m proud of our guys. We battled hard all year. We battled hard to get into the playoffs and I thought we played a pretty good series against a pretty good team.”

Benn on what was said before Overtime:

“We still gave our team a chance to win out there. It’s tough to give up two goals late, but the game wasn’t over. It was anyone’s game and we just wanted to refocus and come out strong in overtime and we just didn’t have it.”

Benn on what the difference was in the series:

“A couple of mental mistakes. They had a pretty good (power play) throughout the series and that can make such a big difference in a playoff game.

Stars Goalie Kari Lehtonen on tonight’s loss:

“It’s hard to say…we played hard and it turned quickly there in the third and it’s just the way it goes. That’s it.”

Lehtonen on what the team can learn from a loss like this:

“It’s too early to say. It takes some time to realize what happened and why it went that way. We couldn’t finish them today and we had a great chance to do so. We played well enough to get the win and keep this thing going and we weren’t able to.”

Stars Forward Tyler Seguin on his feelings after a tough loss:

“It’s not a good feeling. They have a great power play and they showed it again and they are a great team. I’m very proud of our guys I thought we competed so hard. There were a lot of ups and downs this season but for I guess you could say a young team I think have something great to build on here.”

Ducks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau on the comeback:

“Well I wasn’t expecting it to happen. Quite frankly, I have to thank Patrick Roy. If he didn’t start pulling the goalie so early all year, I don’t think any of the teams would have done it. He’s had such great success with Colorado. So, you see that and more and more teams are pulling the goalie not with a minute to go, but with two to two and a half minutes. I figured, when you have to get two goals, it makes perfect sense so we did it tonight and we got lucky.”

Boudreau on putting in Hiller:

“Well, you know what, he played great. There is no doubt about it. He’s come in twice in this series and hasn’t given up a goal in over three periods. It’s the stuff we knew he could do. We know he’s a great goalie, but he hasn’t done it in the months of March and April. Freddy [Andersen] started to look a little tired. I was a little worried about today because he woke up sick. So we didn’t know if we should start him, but in the end he said he was fine. But I knew that he probably didn’t sleep that much last night, so it was an excuse, maybe a little bit, why he wasn’t as sharp as he usually is.”

Boudreau on Bonino’s knack for clutch goals:

“He has a knack no matter how he’s playing, good or bad. You put him out at the end because there is something about him that he’s in the right position at the right time to make the right play. And it’s what he’s all about, so we put him out at the end and in overtime I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Boudreau on Cogliano drawing matching minor:

“It made a heck of a difference that’s why they changed that rule. If you have a power play and two guys get a double minor or get a minor each then it still stays five on four and doesn’t go to four on three because that’s what teams used to do in the past. So we had an opportunity to get our power play rather than a six on five or a five on four and its so much easier and they still cant ice the puck and our power play the last two games has been going fairly well so it was advantage us and Nick snuck that one in and we still had so much time for a four-on-four.”

Boudreau on getting over last year’s loss and mental hump of Detroit:

“The coach can talk about all the positives, but until it gets done, it’s like winning the Stanley Cup I mean you can talk about how great it is and how it’s done but until you do it, you don’t really know you don’t know the price you have to pay. So maybe this will catapult a little bit toward the next series, so we are hoping. There’s some jubilation tonight but there’s not a lot of satisfaction yet so that’s the key.”

Boudreau on his confidence in the team coming back with three minutes left:

“I wasn’t confident at all. I was hopeful. I believed that if we got one, then anything could happen and we’ve had a year when things like this have happened to us so you’re always hopeful and you’re talking on the bench to believe but deep down you don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Boudreau on pulling the goalie even earlier had the opportunity been there:
“We were looking at about 2:44 to pull him and then something happened and the puck came back out and I don’t think (Hiller) was ready to be pulled at that time because we had a hard time getting his attention. We got the faceoff and that made it easier.”

Boudreau on the process of tying the game and then having an intermission:

“I told Ryan (Getzlaf) to go in and calm them down and that I wasn’t going to go in and say anything until we have to come out. Then I just said, ‘We’re going to roll four lines, stay the course of what we do. They’re going to come out really hard as they’re probably a little ticked at what happened. If we don’t score in the first five minutes, we’ll just keep coming at them.”

Boudreau on the belief on the bench after scoring the third goal:

“Yeah it makes a heck of a difference when that happens. Two goals to score and you are thinking let’s talk about it but I don’t know if there’s a lot of belief, but when he scored that goal and you looked up at the clock, there was still two plus minutes left I think at the time, you go hey, we have an opportunity here. That is when everybody got pretty excited and they probably went ‘uh-oh we better defend and defend’ and I think that we just kept coming and they were a little nervous about the whole situation.”

Boudreau on Jonas Hiller’s mentality after being benched to start the game:

“Honestly it’s to his character. I think our whole team has tremendous character. You’re right, he’s been a starter his whole life and now he is on the bench for some young rookie. But I thought …. Did a tremendous job of talking to him every day, building him up, working him hard so that he was ready and wasn’t just like sitting in a corner waiting to mop up. We had talked, we had a conversation last week after he went in and the next day I played Freddy and I said ‘I’m going to play Freddy again and I told him why but I said you be ready because last year I told Victor that he would start the L.A. series, but there is a good chance that you’ll have to be ready because we might be going to you in the next series.”

Ducks forward Devante Smith-Pelly on the tying goal:
“I just was standing at the side of the net, there were guys whacking at it and it slid to me and I had a little bit of time there to flip it in.”

Smith-Pelly on what was being said about him swarming the goal in that situation:

“That’s what we have to do to score. Not every goal is going to be tic-tac-toe and those are the goals we have to score to be successful.”

Smith-Pelly on what went through his mind on the tying goal:

“Don’t miss. The goal was pretty empty so I was hoping I wouldn’t flub it.”

Smith-Pelly on his emotions when the puck went in:

“I kind of blacked out after that, but it felt good, obviously. It’s good to contribute and I am happy to win.”

Smith-Pelly on the resilience of coming back so much this year:

“It’s something you don’t want to do but it’s something that we’ve done a lot this year, that is to come back and end up winning the game. You could feel it on the bench when we started coming on and getting shots that something was going to happen. Once we got within one, I think we were pretty confident we were going to tie it, and that’s just stemming from the leaders all the way down.”

Smith-Pelly on the mindset during the intermission before overtime:

“Keep playing the way we were playing at the end. You saw that when we sit back, they take it to us with their speed. But as long as we kept pushing we’d be fine.”

Smith-Pelly on the series and winning tonight:

“It’s the playoffs. Every game was intense. Like you said, every game could have gone either way.”

Ducks forward Nick Bonino on the comeback:

“Stay the course. I think we’ve come back a lot this season. We’ve had one of the best comeback records. No one was down. I think we believed the whole time. It’s easy to say that now, but we have a lot of character and it showed.”

Bonino on the game winner:

“Yeah (Andrew Cogliano) and (Pat Maroon) had pretty great work down low and I just made a cut to the net and Cogs put it right on my stick I didn’t even look I just put it on net and I think Patty had a great screen.”

Bonino on learning from similar situation versus Detroit last year:

“I think we said it all along that we learn more from the losses than the wins. It was always in the back of our minds what happened in Detroit going into their building 3-2 lead and letting it slip away in overtime so to get it done this way is a lot of fun.”

Bonino on the drama of this series and Dallas’ play:

“We knew this wasn’t going to be a four game series. You have a team over that you have to tip your cap to because they are a great team. They came at us and they gave us trouble in the regular season and we knew going into this series that we were going to have a hard time. They’ve got world class players and they have guys that did a great job of frustrating us and they’re a great team.

Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy on the win:

“That was awesome. That is a very good team we beat over there. If they’re able to play like that for a whole season they are not an eight seed. We did not play well early. They have a team full of gamers. They were excited and ready to go and they outplayed us early. But we have a proud team in here. We knew that if we got one things would tighten up. We hoped to get it a little sooner than with two minutes left in the game, but that was awesome. That was so much fun.”

Lovejoy on learning from last year’s first round in the playoffs:

“We did. We wanted to learn from the past. We knew that, come game seven, it could go either way and we didn’t want to let that team, with their energy and their speed, we knew a game seven against them would be deadly. We certainly saved it until the end, but that was fun.”

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