FRIDAY: Richards and Lundqvist on trying to beat the Kings

Rangers John MooreComments from New York Rangers players Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist following the team’s practice at Staples Center on Friday afternoon…

Q. Having been through a lot of these series before, is there any conscious thought about the fact you don’t want to go back to New York down 0-2? Do you want it to be 1-1? In the flow of the game, you just want to win the game?

RICHARDS: I don’t think it’s smart to start thinking we don’t want to do something or what if we’re down 2-0. That’s not how you want to have your mindset going into a game.  We feel we win a game, we’re back tied 1-1. But it’s still to 4. Definitely you don’t want to have that in your mind going into a game.  Just win a game, that’s the mindset right now.

Q. The coach was just saying their centers in the last game, they’re pretty strong, but that they needed to manage the puck a little better. Would you agree with that?

RICHARDS: Yeah. Center, whatever position, as a team we just stopped managing the puck as the game went on for some reason. We all know that, recognize that. Whether it’s center or whatever, we’ve just got to be better at those areas, the details.

Q. Obviously you never want to lose a game, but losing the way you did on a play like that, having two days off, maybe you think about it more, how it happened, or is there nothing to that?

RICHARDS: No. Danny was down for a few minutes. Everybody kind of picked him up.  That’s a tough bounce. It just happened that that was the overtime goal that the bounce happened. We got a bounce on the second goal that went off their ‘D’ men in the net.  We didn’t give ourselves a good enough chance in the third period. Who knows where the overtime would have went. But those things happen.

Q. Bringing your ‘A’ game, what has been discussed about that?

RICHARDS: It’s pretty obvious. If we won that game in overtime, we’re still having the same meeting probably today, the way the game went. Sometimes you don’t win a game, you have to realize where you are.  We have to expect they’re going to be a lot better. We have to be better or you’re going to be down 2-0.  You know, that’s normal. We recognized that right when the game was over. You know, it’s this time of year. You get one crack at it. You got to raise it. There’s no other option.

Q. John Moore (pictured above) was talking about he felt like he let you guys down. With the potential of him coming back, can you talk about maybe trying to pick him up.

RICHARDS: John, he’s a very good person. Not that other guys aren’t, but he’s the type of guy that would affect, being suspended.  But that’s over with. He’s excited now, that the suspension is over.  But we talked about it briefly. That stuff happens. It’s a play in hockey that he probably would have done something different in hindsight.  He’s able to play now. We’ll move on. Hopefully he can come in and help.

Q. With the extra off day, was that a good chance for you to mentally get away, or would you have preferred to get right back at it?

RICHARDS: I can tell you after the game whether you wished you didn’t have the off day. But as we go in today, get a good practice, now it’s good to have that day to kind of regroup.  As a player, you always want to get right back into it when you lose, especially an overtime game where you’re that close, one shot away.  Now tomorrow is so much closer, you don’t think about it anymore.

Q. How important is the first 10 minutes going to be tomorrow? What do you have to do in the first 10 minutes?

RICHARDS: Same thing we always talk about: the details of making them play 200 feet. We’ve got to play north/south. When we play north/south we’re a lot quicker, can use our speed a lot more.
We expect a push. But why can’t we push? That will be the attitude.

Q. We talked to you a lot about what it meant to get to a Cup Final. Did you find yourself feeling that it was different? Did it seem the same?

LUNDQVIST: Well, we were definitely excited to go out for warm ups and play the first period. You could definitely tell it was different.  But at the same time you were pretty focused on what you needed to do. It was just fun to be out there and play the first game. Especially when you have a few days between games, obviously you tend to think a lot.  It was just nice to finally get going. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but there was a lot of good things we can build on for the next game.

Q. For yourself personally, were you satisfied with how you reacted with the extra pressure?

LUNDQVIST: I think I did the things I needed to do, I guess. When you go into a game like that, it’s a 2-2 game, we could easily have won that game. Actually, a breakaway with 30 seconds to go.  As a goalie there’s obviously a lot of things you can’t control. I felt like the things I could control, I was in the right place mentally, and technically I felt pretty good.  They made a couple good plays. The last goal, it’s a good shot. I thought I covered enough to make that save. But, you know, you have to give it to them as well. It was a good shot.

Q. Was it in any way comparable to some of those big Olympic moments or was this a totally different experience for you?

LUNDQVIST: Well, I think it’s a mix of a little bit of everything, being here. I told someone it feels like you’re at All-Star weekend because there’s so much media that normally you don’t see. There’s a lot of people that come up and ask you different types of questions right now.  But then at the same time you’re really focused on what you need to do. So it’s a mix of being in the Olympics, being at All-Star weekend. But it’s fun. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s also exciting, you know, to just see a different side, I guess.  It’s still the same game, but it’s a lot going on. I think that’s exciting.

Q. How are the Kings different compared to the way you played them in November, on video, compared to the way they played the other night?

LUNDQVIST: They played exactly the way we expected them to play. We had meetings going into this game. We talked about what to expect.  After the first period, I think AV asked us if we were surprised, didn’t expect that. We all looked around the room and realized this is what we’ve been preparing for, this is the way it’s going to look.  They’re pretty consistent the way they play. That’s why they’re here. I think the reason we’re here is we’ve been consistent, especially the second half of the season, the way we’ve been playing.  I think parts of last game were really good and there’s parts we can improve. We’re going to correct that for tomorrow.

Q. How about traffic in front of the net?

LUNDQVIST: Well, you definitely have to work for it, be very aggressive, be active to try to find the puck. That’s how they play. They come down the wing. They have two guys coming to the net, throw pucks in, go for tips or rebound.  Obviously the rebound control is important. Just try to find the puck. They’re good at it. They’re really good at it.  But as a goalie, it’s a fun challenge, too, when they’re putting the heat on you. Especially in that third period, it was a lot of action. But it was a fun challenge.

Q. You have such great team speed. From your perspective, if you were on the other side, what does it do to a goalie when all that speed comes at you?

LUNDQVIST: Well, as a goalie, when you feel your own team is in control, even though the other team plays with a lot of speed, you feel more relaxed. The tough part is when you feel like you’re not in the right place, as a team you make a mistake, they’re coming in three-on-ones, three-on-twos. You try to be patient, believe in your game, not be overaggressive. I mean, that’s for me.  For Quicky, it’s probably something else because we play pretty differently.  But, you know, I think both teams play with a lot of speed. A lot of it is how you place the puck. You can skate into pucks. That keeps you, you know, from stopping too much. You can just keep going.  We’ve been using our speed a lot, especially during the playoffs, in a good way. I think we can keep doing that in this series.

Q. You mentioned the third period. Did you think there were a lot of really good scoring chances, a lot of action? How did you survive that third period?

LUNDQVIST: I felt like we kept them to the outside for the most part. But they like to throw pucks from the outside, go for rebounds. A lot of times you might not think there’s a big chance, but a lot of times they create something from second and third chances, not necessarily from the first shot.  It’s important that you don’t relax even though you feel like you have everything under control maybe in the first sequence. That’s when they can surprise you a little bit.  But I think we did a good job. Obviously they had a lot of pucks coming down the wings, shooting from different angles. I think our D did a great job of taking care of loose pucks, guys in front of me.  Like I said, a lot of things were good, and there’s some things we talked about now that we’re going to try to correct and do better tomorrow. We’re ready for this challenge, try to even this up.

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