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May 17, 2017
Anaheim, California - Practice Day
Q. Could you talk a little bit about Stanley, why you sort of invented him and what he's done for the team?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: Well, our concept was just behind the dog and just more of an image of what you would want your team to look like and how you would want them to play. And players have contribute into it as well.
Q. Who added the music?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: What music?
Q. The music they play now after the wins.
COACH LAVIOLETTE: The players did. The players.
Q. With goalie interference, how much of that in determining it is subjective? Or do you know exactly where it counts and how tough is it to deal with that?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: It's tough. I know that they look at a lot of them and a lot of times what somebody might think is dead on one way you could put it into a room and the vote might come out 5-5. So to tell you it's not dead is dead on one way.
The first one that took place last night, we didn't challenge it. We felt it was a tough call. The call was made on the ice, which means we would have needed really some good evidence to overturn that call.
In hindsight, looking back at it today, I still think the same thing. That we were touching the blue paint. And we were in there and there was coincidental contact. And it ended up being onto the goalie and didn't have a chance to make the second shot so we didn't challenge it. Probably a good call by the officials, I think.
The second one, in hindsight, like going back and looking at it, we really felt that Ekholm had an edge to the net. And he made a strong move. He had his player beat. And it was the player that caused Ekholm by -- he dropped one hand off of the stick and pushed and held -- maybe there should have been a penalty the other way. But that's neither here nor there. Things happen so quick.
I didn't realize -- last night when I was talking to the official on it, it was just a conversation to find out why Ekholm got the penalty, and he explained his point of view. And going back, when you get a chance to look at it again, slow it down, looked like Ekholm really had a lane inside and had his man beat.
So they're tough calls. They're really tough calls to make, especially in real time. I thought the officials did a pretty good job making those decisions last night.
Q. Your team is 6-0 in the playoffs. Is there such a thing as a home crowd willing a team to win?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: There's no question that they're a big part of it. I mean, they bring so much energy. And it's a loud environment. They definitely have a hand in trying to create that energy in the building that keeps us going in the right direction.
Q. Your success on home ice has gone back to the regular season right and into last year. Can you give us some insight into what you've done, what the organization has done to build a team that's one of the toughest to play on home ice?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: From the team standpoint, from the inside of our locker room?
Q. Yeah, motivation, the guys you bring in, what is this team so tough to play?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I think it's something we worked on all year long, just to try to be a good hockey team, a team that's built from inside. It wasn't a path out of the gates that was perfect. But sometimes that's good. And I remember saying that back along when we were in October and November and expectations were higher than where we were, it's okay to deal with struggle inside of a locker room. It can make you stronger, and our guys continue to build at it and work at it and get to a point where we are today.
Q. Does the identity on the ice now basically match what you envisioned in the beginning? And when do you think you got there? To play the way you do, the aggressive play, do you have the personnel now and the execution?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I do think that at times during the year we played that way as well. The month of November was terrific. We're trying to become consistent with that identity. And I think at times we dealt with a lot of injuries. Key personnel out of the lineup, it makes it a little bit more difficult.
Down, the second half of the year, as we moved close to the last month and a half, last two months of the season, I thought we were pretty consistent with our game. And as we approach the Playoffs, I think the guys felt confident with that.
Q. Specifically in a case of Forsberg, if you work with any young player, what can a young player's performance in the postseason do in terms of building a reputation early on the player earlier in his career?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I think through the course of your career there's always going to be experiences that you gain. Right now I don't think he's thinking like that. I'm not really thinking like that either just because we're in the moment of what we're trying to do here.
But, for instance, a guy like Justin Williams has built a reputation as somebody who is a big-time player in Game 7s. He might not have thought about that in his first Game 7; but when you repeatedly do things over in time, then you can, like I said, you can develop that reputation. So right now I think Filip's a young player.
He's continuing to work hard. He's got his head in the right place and eye on the ball. We probably should leave it at that because we still have a lot of work left to do. I think those are things that happen.
The question that you're asking are the things that happened over time.
Q. Peter, when you guys got the game winner last night, get the power play, go out and score the game winner, is that something that can ignite a power play?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: Yeah, the power play had a lot of looks last night. There's a lot of opportunity. I still think that when there's opportunity, usually results can come from it.
You've got to give Anaheim credit. They're one of the top teams on the penalty kill last year and this year.
I know they had struggled a little bit in the postseason prior to our series. But they're a terrific penalty killing team and they have been for a few years.
It becomes difficult at times to do exactly what you want to do out there, but we are getting some looks and continue to work on it. And last night was a big goal for us.
Q. With regards to the style of play and pace of play you guys play with, do you have to ask anything of the players in the offseason, knowing that it takes a lot of stamina and a lot of endurance?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: No. All teams are prepared to endure the season and endure the Playoffs. Players, nowadays, not just ours, but just across the league in general, their off-ice training through the summer and their off-ice habits during the season are so advanced now compared to 10 years ago or 20 years ago. It keeps evolving and changing and the players are constantly, I think, trying to get better.
They're in charge of their own company, if you think about it. And they try to give themselves the best opportunity. And a lot of that happens through the summer and how they eat, how they sleep, how they train. Not just our guys, but all players nowadays.
Q. One of the guys on the Anaheim team was saying he was expecting you guys, was surprised you haven't worn down from that, that you've been able to keep it up. How are you able to -- how are the players able to do it?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I'm not sure. I don't have an answer for that.
Q. The schedule you have now, play/travel, play/travel. You don't have that during the regular season, and you played 82 regular season games. Now you're here. Is it difficult -- does it become more of a test of stamina than maybe in the regular season?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: They always say about the Playoffs, you and your opponent are on the same level playing field. They're dealing with exactly what we're dealing with. So there's really no advantage or disadvantage to anybody.
Q. Just in general, what's it to be in this position with the possibility of maybe taking further control in the series?
P.K. SUBBAN: Our mindset the whole Playoffs is to take it one game at a time. And we knew coming back in our building we played a lot of good hockey in our building this whole Playoffs and this season. And we wanted to make sure that out of the two games we got the first one. We did that. And now we're looking forward to the intensity ramping up for the second game at home.
Q. Have you been able to get a sense, I know this is obviously your first year here, first year in Nashville (indiscernible), but have you been able to get any kind of sense just what this is meaning to Preds fans, the fan base?
P.K. SUBBAN: Yes, it means a lot. Means a lot to the state of Tennessee and obviously the city of Nashville, and this organization. This organization's had a lot of good teams over the years. And I think that this year we want to take another step forward and we did that.
But we understand collectively, in our dressing room, what we can accomplish as a team. But right now, in order to do that, our focus has to be on just taking it one day at a time and one game at a time. And that's been our focus. I know around our dressing room it's light. I mean, guys are happy coming into the rink every day. We feel good.
I don't know if that has to do with the weather in Nashville or not. But we're really enjoying being a part of this postseason for sure.
Q. Can you put your finger, coming from a different organization, can you put your finger on what it is that makes your team such a good team?
P.K. SUBBAN: I think it's just the culture. It's the culture of the organization. And like I said, the city's really embraced this team and hockey. And makes it fun for us to come back home. I can't say the same for all teams in the National Hockey League, that when they feel like they've got a real advantage when they go into their arena, but we do.
And that has to do with our fan base and the energy and the rink, whether we're up a goal or down a goal, it's tied they're really loud the whole game. It's a real fun place to play, and I've been very lucky to play in buildings with that type of energy in my career. And this is by far, has to be one of the best experiences for me as a hockey player.
Q. The power play last night, how big was that for you guys and kind of maybe to get that ignited a little bit?
P.K. SUBBAN: It's tough in the Playoffs. Teams buckle down. They watch video. They know what your tendencies are. And when it comes to special teams, you want to keep it simple and just get pucks to net, especially on power plays, try to get pucks to the net and converge on rebounds.
That's what we did last night, one shot, a nice bounce off of Arvi and then Jos put it in the back door. That's what you need. Those teams are so good, especially final four teams. Teams are so good at penalty killing and special teams, so you have to make it tough on them and get as many pucks to the net as you can. And obviously it was big getting that goal last night.
Q. Talk about the process this season, defined your style, your identity as a team just because of the changes and injuries. Is that accurate, and when did you find it? And do you think you found it now, where you play this aggressive style, just tell us where you are?
P.K. SUBBAN: We definitely know what our identity is. It's kind of the dog on a bone mentality. And we want to dictate the pace of the game, and we want to attack you in all three zones as a five-man unit and be tough to play against. And I think everybody on our team can skate, move the puck and make plays.
But I think the difference for us is the ability for us to get in there and challenge teams physically and really move our feet to check and defend. And we've done such a good job defending this whole Playoffs and defense wins games. So we've done a really good job, and obviously we have Peks back there. He's the backbone of our team. When there are mistakes being made or breakdowns, he's there to shut the door.
Q. Is it accurate, like, was it a process? When do you think you really found it? Like I know you knew what you wanted to do, but to get there it was difficult, right?
P.K. SUBBAN: You know what? I think it's safe to say that our team and this organization, we built this team as a Playoff team. And we knew that our job was, in the regular season, was to get ourselves to the postseason and then it was for us to do the work.
And they put together a team. And we all love each other in that dressing room. But this is a business at the end of the day and you have to win to stay together and we want to keep this group together. So we knew that having a good postseason run was important for us. And right now we're continuing to build every day and find ways to be successful every night.
And every night it's a new story line in the Playoffs. And we're just prepared regardless of what happens just to continue to move forward in the fashion that we have all season.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Stanley and how important it's been as a unifying thing? It's kind of fun, but has it really made a difference?
MATT IRWIN: Yeah. It's kind of how we want to play the game. If you think of Stanley and you look at him, his knees are bent, he's in an athletic stance, his mouth's drooling. It's the intensity he brings and that's the kind of intensity we want to bring to our game every night.
Q. How many times do you want to chain (phonetic)?
MATT IRWIN: Once, I believe.
Q. Is that a big deal?
MATT IRWIN: Yeah, it's cool. Obviously when you win the chain, it's (indiscernible) your teammates, you contributed and you had a solid night.
Q. What's it like to be in this position again at home? You guys have been very successful, have a chance to really take a swing at it in the series tomorrow?
MATT IRWIN: Last night was a big step for us. It was a big win, and obviously we've got to have that same mindset going into tomorrow night. It's a great opportunity for us at home. It's not going to be easy. We're going to be seeing their best. And we've got to counter with our best to give ourselves a chance.
Q. Can you describe the atmosphere in the city for the Playoffs and how it differs from what it was like during the regular season?
MATT IRWIN: It's hard to put in words really what you're feeling on the ice when the fans get behind you. You feel that energy in warm-up and they carry it right through from puck drop all the way to the final buzzer. And it's something special to play in front of and it's nothing like I've ever experienced anything before.
Q. Is it like you're out in the city, people stop and talk to you?
MATT IRWIN: To tell you the truth, you don't get stopped too often, but you feel the buzz in the city. Everyone's so excited on the run that's going on right now and the possibilities of what could happen and our focus. And the city has just kind of rallied around that. And it's great for the organization and it's really great for the city.
Q. How important is it for you guys, especially with this team, people pulling together with what happened, just kind of keeping the pressure constant knowing this team thinks it can win in any situation?
MATT IRWIN: Yeah, I mean, you've got to keep the foot on the gas. You can't give them any kind of life, obviously. The Playoffs are so many momentum swings from game to game or within the game. It's just a matter of playing our game and playing it to the best of our ability and doing what makes us successful and that will take care of the business.
Q. Throughout the Playoffs I can't tell if you guys are winning or losing. You keep kind of the same face. Is that kind of the attitude of the team?
JAMES NEAL: No, I think guys are excited, but at the same time it's -- you enjoy it quick and then you refocus and get back to work the next day like we are today, go over things. And our biggest game of the year is tomorrow. And that's what we need to focus on.
Q. Seems like this team is playing the way that it set out to play at the beginning of the year. Was it a process to get to that? When do you think you got to that?
JAMES NEAL: Yeah, I think, it's been, for a few years, it's been ever since I got here, I think the team's been building towards getting better. And I think you've seen that over the years going deeper into the Playoffs. And last year was a tough loss in Game 7. And it comes back into this year, I think we're a little more experienced and ready to take that next step.
Q. I kind of mean specifically, like, style-wise, like using the D, being really aggressive.
JAMES NEAL: I think, since I came in here, that's Lavi, and that's our head coach coming in, and that's his style of play, and what the personnel we have and the players we have. We have active D. We have guys that have a ton of skill back there and that are able to jump in the rush, and that have the offense ability to put pucks in the net and do good things in the offensive zone. So that's the way Lavi plays it and it's been great for our guys.
Q. You guys had a lot of traffic in front of Gibson last night. How much can that be an effective strategy getting up there and trying to interfere with the goalie within the rules as much as possible?
JAMES NEAL: I think that's the way Playoffs are. You've got to take the goalie's eyes away as much as you can. And goalies are so good that if they see it they're going to stop it. So getting into the blue paint and getting around Gibson is what we have to do to score goals.
He's an elite goaltender and he showed that all year. So goals are hard to come by. And if we're going to the right areas, hopefully we can bang a few in. You saw it last night.
Q. That style of play you were referring to, a lot of teams in the league wouldn't have the engine to pull that off. How is it that you guys can? Is it different training? Is there something to it that allows you guys to go (indiscernible)?
JAMES NEAL: I think it's how good our defense are. And I think it's right from training camp, it's a style of play. It's our identity and it's the way we want to do go about our business. Right from day one, we've worked on it in practice and we continue to get better at that. Like I said, since Lavi has come in and taken over this team that's been our identity, and we work with that and we continue to go with it. It's really paying off so far right now.
Q. How would you explain this team's dominance on home ice?
JAMES NEAL: It's an amazing place to play. Everyone's starting to see it and everyone wants to be a part of it. But the city embraces our team like no other.
And, like I said, last night after the game I played in different arenas, I've played on different teams. I've played in loud rinks, but this one blows that away. And it's just, the fans that are unbelievable. And every guy isn't the same after (indiscernible). It's a special place to play and it continues to get louder and louder as we go.
Q. We know the fans are great. But there's a lot of good buildings, a lot of teams that can't seem to capitalize on it. How do you make sure that you take that energy and use it?
JAMES NEAL: I just think any team wants to capitalize at home, but just taking it and doing the right thing with it, like you said, is something we've done over the years and done all year this year. So we have the confidence at home and we have a plan at home and that's a big part of it.
Q. The (indiscernible) power play turned out to be a game winner last night. How much can that help maybe ignite this power play and kind of move it forward?
JAMES NEAL: It for sure helps. I think any team that's not scoring on the power play, you're going to get a little frustrated, but we've got to keep our heads up and keep doing what's made us have a successful power play. But getting that one at a crucial time and ultimately winning us a game was great for us.
Q. You look at the (indiscernible) team as well, a team full of veterans. The importance, I know you guys talked about keeping your foot on the gas, you guys did that last night in the last period. How important is it to keep your foot on the gas every single moment, every single period here?
JAMES NEAL: Of course. I think going back to the Chicago series, that's a team that's won. The Ducks are a team that have won in the past. We knew it was going to be a long series, it was going to be a heavy series. And you don't want to give a team any life.
So it's the biggest game of the year tomorrow. And we've got to refocus and be ready to roll. They're going to be doing everything they can to get a win in our rink.
Q. Can you speak of, I think the word is the dominance you guys have had at home throughout the Playoffs, even going back to last year?
RYAN JOHANSEN: Yeah, it's obviously a huge part of our success. We have a lot of confidence playing at home and obviously a huge credit to the atmosphere each and every night we've been playing there.
So feel very comfortable, and what a huge opportunity tomorrow to go up 3-1 and hopefully continue that success there.
Q. Ryan, what does a strong Playoff performance do to a young player's reputation, particularly Forsberg, who has a knack for scoring big goals, (indiscernible)?
RYAN JOHANSEN: I think the way last year's Playoffs went for him as an individual and how it kind of motivated him throughout the season and now in these Playoffs to be the difference maker and be such a clutch player, I mean, he seems to be the guy who's always finding a way to get it done in those crucial points in games.
And as his linemate and the guy playing with him, we always feel like we're a threat on the ice. And in those times when we're counted on as a line, we feel like we're able to come through and find ways to make it happen.
Q. You obviously have to step back and look and think, gosh, we're doing something special here. Have you had time to do that?
RYAN JOHANSEN: No, you've got to have your focus on one day at a time. When it's all said and done and I'm sitting on my patio in the summer then I'll think about it. But right now, we're just focusing on today and getting some rest and then preparing myself for tomorrow.
Q. A lot of talk between games 2 and 3 about your matchup with Ryan Kesler. How did you change your approach in dealing with him on the ice last night?
RYAN JOHANSEN: I didn't change anything. I wanted to play my game and try to be the best player I can be. And I thought as a line we played a solid 200-foot game. We created lots of offensive zone. Obviously Fil had that big goal and Jos with the big power play goal. And my mindset is going to be the same tomorrow -- just about me and how I can be the best.
RYAN JOHANSEN: Yeah, yeah, I feel like just my mindset and the way I evaluate my game, I feel like I took a step and I'm really happy where it's at right now. The confidence I have in my game coming to the rink each and every day, I feel comfortable and I believe in myself right now. So I guess I'm happy with the steps I've made.
Q. You just mentioned the power play goal last night. You guys had been in a big drought. You get the goal in the power play and the game-winner. Can that ignite the power play and get you headed in the right direction?
RYAN JOHANSEN: Hopefully. We feel like we kind of threw away our first three opportunities, and we knew how crucial that fourth one was, obviously, so late in the game and needing a goal.
I thought our unit did a good job of settling it down, having some poise and waiting for the play to come to us. And what happened, a bouncing puck coming over to Jos on his offside, an offside one-timer, to do that was a huge goal and a very skilled play by him.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports