Post-Game 4: Comments from Rangers – Lundqvist and Stralman

1402589150678Comments after Game 4:

Q. What does this win mean in terms of the way you think this series can go now?

ANTON STRALMAN: It means a lot. I think this is a game we can build some confidence on. It wasn’t our best game, but at the same time we got the win and that’s what we needed.

Q. Talk about the challenge of keeping this thing alive in Los Angeles, what it’s going to take.

STRALMAN: It’s another hard game. Have to keep working hard, manage the puck a lot better than we did tonight. Just put a lot of pressure.

Q. Can you talk about the play where you helped keep the play out of the net.

STRALMAN: It was a quick play on the power play there. I just saw the puck and all I tried to do basically was get the stick out, and obviously the puck as well. I got a little lucky and was able to save it.

Q. On that play, how conscious are you of not kicking the puck in?

STRALMAN: Yeah, it’s one of those things, you need a little luck to kind of succeed with. You know, I think it was Gaborik that was going to jump on it because he was right on the slot there with me. I tried to get his stick out first and just keep it there, buy myself some time to do a second effort to get it out.

Q. The team has talked quite a bit about luck throughout this series. Do you feel like it’s turning, going in your favor now?

STRALMAN: I mean, we certainly got a good bounce out of that first goal. That fed us some energy. I mean, the break they got when Girardi’s stick broke kind of went against us. At the same time we hung in there the whole game. I didn’t think it was our best game anyways. But, you know, we got it done, and that’s what we wanted.

Q. Going back to L.A., they never had the lead until the end there, how much can you build on that for confidence?

STRALMAN: Those two games we played, I thought we played real well. We have to go in with the same mindset we had. What we did in that second game was to work real hard, we put tremendous pressure on their D and feed off their turnovers. That’s what we tried to do today. We didn’t get that far, I didn’t think. We feel confident on the road or at home, so we’ll go in and play
our game.

Q. What can you say about the way Lundqvist played tonight?

STRALMAN: He was tremendous for us tonight. He came out big numerous times. When the puck was dancing on the goal line, a couple guys cleared it. He was amazing for us.

Q. How about the check on Drew Doughty in the first period, talk about that.

STRALMAN: Yeah, it was just one of those plays that I’m trying to go wide instead of cut in the middle. It’s just a matter of trying to close down the space. Most guys will stand up. I’ll use my hip (smiling).

Q. How would you describe your performance tonight and how nervous were you in the last minute of the game?

HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, I felt good tonight. I must say, I felt pretty good in every game. It’s just tonight, we had the bounces. We talked about it the first couple games where, you know, especially against this team, you need that little extra puck luck. They play a lot around the net, a lot of deflections, screens. Sometimes it’s going to hit you and sometimes it’s not. You have to keep telling yourself you’re doing the right things. So that’s what I did. Going into this game, I didn’t want to change anything. I just tried to go out and compete. A couple close calls. But when you play this game, you have to battle, but then you have to rely on your teammates. Sometimes you have to rely on some luck. Tonight we had it a couple times. But we played a strong game. But when they turn it up, you know, I think we can match that. But it’s an intense game. Last couple minutes, you know, they came hard. But we’ve been in that situation before. You just have to trust yourself, trust the system we have, trust your teammates that we’re doing the right things. I felt like we were a lot better tonight. Being in the lane, especially from their point shots, you know, it
was tougher for them to get them through. That’s a big part of their game.

Q. What is it about elimination games that seems to bring out the best in you and your team?

LUNDQVIST: Well, it’s about competing. When everything is on the line, you just have to challenge yourself the right way, I guess, as a team and personally. You have to go out there and leave everything out there and be extremely focused. One mistake and the season is over. You’re definitely aware of that. When you go out to these types of games where, you know, you know
everything can be over after this period or after the next two periods. You try even harder to be focused and making the right decisions out there. It’s exciting, though. It’s extremely tough, but it’s fun, especially when it’s that intense out there, a lot of action. Always great to win at home.

Q. Talk about the feeling of momentum, if there is such a thing from game to game, and the challenge of trying to keep something special going in L.A.

LUNDQVIST: Well, we went into this game with the approach that we wanted to win at home in front of our fans. That was our approach. We got that accomplished. Now we’re looking for the next game. When it comes to momentum, you just create that from the start. You set the tone, whatever you want it to be. Whatever happened the last game, it’s over. You go out, set the tone the first five, ten minutes. Obviously the start in these games are important to show your teammates and show the other team that you’re ready to play, that this is going to be a long night. That’s the message you want to, you know, send out when you go out for big games, I guess. I mean, we didn’t want to see the Cup coming out on our home ice tonight. Yeah, just the thought of it makes me feel sick (laughter). But, you know, obviously the goal is to see it through Game 7. But there’s so much work to be done here, we’re just looking at the next game as a great challenge for us. Again, when they get going, they’re a good team. But at the same time when I compare them to maybe Pittsburgh, they have a lot of skill. Montréal had a lot of speed. But this team, they do every little thing right. They make it tough for you in every little situation.
Sometimes you think you have everything under control, and they create something from basically nothing. You know, they’re shooting the puck, going for rebounds. You have to be on your toes all the time.

Q. On the chance in the final minute, the deflection, it appeared the puck hit some snow. Is that there? As a goalie, do you push it there, or is it being late in the game?

LUNDQVIST: It’s probably the product of moving a lot. I stay deep in the net, so there’s a lot of snow there. Obviously a couple times where, like I said, you just have to rely on your teammates and luck. I thought I had it because I felt the puck, felt like I got a good piece of it on that deflection. I was yelling at the ref to blow the whistle. Then I realized it was behind me for a couple seconds. I actually apologized. But he was cool about it (smiling). But, again, I didn’t chase anything going into this game. It’s so fast. The game is so fast. You can’t question yourself, you know, when you lose. Sometimes you need to correct things. But that’s what I said after last game. You need to be careful when you analyze your game. If I start changing things, it’s not going to be good for me or the team. Sometimes you just have to believe in what you’re doing even though you’re not getting the result you want.

Q. A lot of these elimination games or clinching games have been 2-1, 1-0. How much do you draw on that experience in a case like tonight?

LUNDQVIST: Well, I think we believe in each other in that situation. That’s huge. To know that you can pull it off even though they’re coming at you in a lot of different ways. I think it starts with a mental belief that, you know, we’re doing the right things out there and it’s going to pay off.vEspecially in a play like this, every little play matters. I think we did so many good things that in the end it paid off for us. Obviously being in this situation before, yeah, I think it helps us. Again, it’s coming back to the system and believing that what we’re doing out there is working for us. The way we played tonight, that’s why we’re in the Final, I think. We try to do everything the right way. When it’s time to rely on skill, you do that. But there’s a lot of times where you just have to keep it simple and work extremely hard.

Q. You’ve said you didn’t want to overreact to the first three games because you thought you were playing reasonably well. What did you mean yesterday when you said you needed to raise your level to compete with Quick? How did that manifest itself tonight?

LUNDQVIST: Well, honestly, I mean, I talked to my goalie coach, too, about it. I’ve been feeling good in all the games. I’m reacting to the pucks the right way. I’m not making the first move. But sometimes you just have to accept, you know, the bounces are coming at you. You can’t change your game just because it happens. I would do the same thing even though you know the result. Yesterday when I said I have to be better, being okay or good is not
going to win you games right now. You have to be better than that. But I don’t feel like I’ve been giving up bad goals. I think I’m playing my game. I have to believe in what I’m doing out there. Tonight with a great team game and some luck, we got a good result.

Q. As much as you talk about the luck that was on your side tonight, how difficult was it when Girardi’s stick breaks and Dustin Brown comes down on the breakaway?

LUNDQVIST: Yeah, I’m not going to lie. The first thought was, Here we go again. I guess the important thing was to respond the right way. They had a couple chances right after to make saves right away. At that point I just kept telling myself, We need to keep this score going into the third. That was my approach. They had a little push late in the second after that goal to try to get back in an even game. It felt extremely important to, you know, keep the puck out. But it’s always mentally challenging when things happen, especially with things like that. You feel like you have a lot of it under control and you get a bad break. You just have to respond the right way and stay positive.

MORE: Comments from both coaches here

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