Earlier today we posted thoughts from Drew Doughty at the Kings training facility. Now, here is what Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik had to share, as they look ahead to Friday’s Game 6 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks…
Q. On trying to close out the series.
GABORIK: Yeah, I mean, you want to close it out. Of course, we wanted to do that last night. It didn’t work out. Coming back to our building, you know, everybody is of course excited for the game. Just got to play our game. We’re talking about we have to fix quite a few stuff from last night and just go from there.
Q. Is one of the things you have to fix the Kane, Saad, Shaw line?
GABORIK: Yeah, I think they played a very good game. I think for the fans, it was unbelievable to watch. But for us it wasn’t the type of game we wanted to play, you know, trade chances, trade odd-man rushes. We don’t want to play that way. We want to make sure we stay tight on those guys, not give them a lot of speed through the neutral zone, just not give them time and space.
Q. Is it hard to do that when you were successful doing it in the second period?
GABORIK: I mean, with that type of team, we don’t want to do that because usually they would come on top of us. They’re such a great talent, offensive power. Even so we scored some goals that way, that’s not our game to play.
Q. The first two series so much seemed to change when you were able to stave off elimination the first chance. Do you feel any added pressure to take care of business coming home?
GABORIK: Well, I mean, I wouldn’t say there’s a whole lot of pressure. Everybody feels some sort of a pressure coming into any game to perform. Of course, tomorrow is the biggest game of the season for us. We’re going to make sure and we will approach it that way. Everybody will be ready to play. You know, hopefully we can have a good start like we did Game 4.
Q. How do you maintain feeling good or having the energy when you’re at the end of a third series like this?
GABORIK: I think we’re going to have a lot of energy. It’s just to approach that game, you know, if we win we can be in the Stanley Cup Final. That itself should give you plenty of energy. Today is a day to recover and to look at some of the things and fix some of the things we didn’t do well last night and just go from there.
Q. I know you have to stay in the now, but can you appreciate the excellence of last night’s game?
GABORIK: Yeah, like I said, it was unbelievable game for fans to watch, especially overtime when there was maybe, I don’t know, under 10 minutes of no stoppage. The pace was very good. For you guys, for all the fans, it must have been a very good experience.
Q. On Game 5.
KOPITAR: Yeah, I thought it was a pretty good game. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but there’s some positives. There’s also some negatives that we have to correct from that game, get ready for tomorrow.
Q. Is one of the biggest negatives trying to figure out how to stop Kane? Saad had a great game, too.
KOPITAR: Yeah, those two did some damage last night. We got to check them better obviously. There’s really not a special format. You just got to eliminate time and space ’cause when they do start carrying the puck all over the ice, it’s hard to catch them. They’re good players and they’re going to make plays.
Q. Really fast pace to that game. Teams were trading chances. Is the key going into Game 6 slowing things down?
KOPITAR: I wouldn’t say slowing the game down, but you definitely don’t want to trade chances with them. They’re that type of team where if you did that, it’s usually not going to end well. We’re known not to play that kind of hockey. This time of the year, that doesn’t work usually. We got to get back to playing our game.
Q. They shuffled their ‘D’ pairings and tried to get their defense involved more. Anything you’re looking to tighten up for Game 6 there?
KOPITAR: I don’t think it really matters how they shuffle their ‘D.’ Again, there’s some stuff we have to correct about our game. We’ve done that earlier in the series. Now we’re going to have to do it again.
Q. Will you treat tomorrow like a Game 7, urgency?
KOPITAR: Yeah, of course. Nobody wants to go back there. We wanted to finish it off last night. It didn’t happen. It’s disappointing. We’re going to have to do it tomorrow.
Q. In terms of faceoffs, everyone obviously has their own style. Do you approach them a little bit differently in terms of your size and strength as another player would?
KOPITAR: That’s really hard to say because you’re doing the same thing over and over again. It’s really just I think a comfort level. It also depends who you’re going up against. You know, there’s a bunch of stuff that goes into that, what the outcome is.
Q. Is there a part of you guys that feels like there’s not another better team in the league than Chicago; that if you win this series, you’re in great position to win the Stanley Cup?
KOPITAR: I think all four teams are in great position to win the Stanley Cup, so… We’re not looking ahead. We’re not looking at our teams. We just got to figure out our own game. Not figure it out, we just got to play our game because we know it’s successful.
Q. About the question on faceoffs, at the start of your career you weren’t as good as you are now. What have you done to improve?
KOPITAR: It’s hard to say. I mean, I think a lot of it is just getting to know the guys, the other guys, the other players, what their strengths are, how can you expose them. You just try to go with that. I think I’ve gotten a little bit stronger since I first got here, too, so that obviously helps. But, you know, it’s just different things that, you know, are, I guess, a good result and a bad result. It’s a lot of stuff that goes in there.
Q. What was the sensation like of playing in that first overtime with basically eight minutes between whistles?
KOPITAR: It was good. It was intense. The game was going up and down. There were some chances. We had a chance to win. They had a chance to win.
I’m sure it’s fun for the fans. But, you know, from a structure standpoint of view, we wanted to tie it up.
Q. In the second period you were very successful. When you’re scoring like that, is it easy to get pulled into that type of style?
KOPITAR: Yeah, that’s what is usually the case. When everything goes well, you’re trading rushes back and forth… Again, that’s not going to get you too far. We have to tighten it up and get back to playing our game.
Q. Are you surprised this has been a fairly high-scoring series?
KOPITAR: I mean, I don’t think it’s through the roof high scoring. You know, there’s obviously been some goals scored. We haven’t had too much trouble scoring goals in the playoffs. They’re obviously the highest-scoring team, I believe they were in the regular season. So maybe that’s bound to happen. Usually when you give up three goals or more in the game, that usually gets you in trouble. We want to focus on that, too.
Q. How much have long runs over the last couple years helped you navigate the twists and turns of this marathon?
KOPITAR: For me personally I think you can’t get too high or too low. That’s what I learned in the last couple years. If you do that, it’s obviously an emotional rollercoaster. You definitely don’t want to think about all the stuff that could happen, would happen, will happen. Just stay even keel, really just try to be in the moment and be focused that way.