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May 18, 2002

Ron Francis

Aaron Ward


Q. If you still haven't managed to figure out a way against Toronto, do you change anything?

RON FRANCIS: I think we did a lot of things right. There are some things we'll probably have to adjust to. I don't think we want to change our game plan. It's been successful for us so far. If we do the things we do well as a team, that's what's given us success so that's what we want to do.

Q. Some of the Leafs' regulars are going to be coming back to the lineup, does that change the way that you approach the team, different combinations with different matchups?

RON FRANCIS: I think going into the series we expected to see a lot of those guys back before this was over. Again, we have to focus on playing our system, playing well and working hard, and if we do that, then that affords our team the best opportunity to be successful. That's what our goal is. We'll adjust during the course of the game, but for the most part, stick to the game plan.

Q. On the subject of the goaltending tandem, do you guys play any differently, because obviously each goaltender, Kevin and Archie have different styles, the way they cover the net and so forth, do you guys have to play differently depending who is at the net?

RON FRANCIS: No. I think going back to the New Jersey series when Kevin came in, our team didn't play much differently. We have a certain system we want to play and we want to be consistent with. That doesn't change because the goaltending does. I don't think their style is that dramatic puck handling-wise that we need to make any changes.

It's that time of season where the guys coming in are hungry and are going to play well, and they take nothing for granted. If it takes two goaltenders to get it done, it takes two goaltenders. It doesn't matter at this point in the season.

Q. Having a couple of days off, an opportunity to refocus, what's the mindset going into a series being a game down as opposed to being a game up?

AARON WARD: Just knowing it's a seven-game series, that's the approach we take to it. We can't be too happy with the performance we had, but be happy that we can improve on it. With some system changes and a little better effort out there, we can definitely make this a competitive series.

Q. What are you going to have to do against them?

AARON WARD: I think it's also understanding Toronto. Like with New Jersey, they went through things that were so structured with the approaches, for years now they are a trapping team and how they are going to come at you, and same thing with Montreal. You are pretty sure going into the into the game what you're going to see, but Toronto is an adapting period for the players. From line to line, you see something different. It's not always consistent. They do obviously play a system, but it's more reactionary for us. We have to figure out what is being thrown at us. I would not say we were not prepared for it, but it takes the experience of going through that and not succumb to it the next game.

Q. Is sense of urgency a proper phrase?

AARON WARD: I don't think there's any wavering of degrees here on urgency. We are in the Conference Finals. Everything is urgent.

Q. Do you have to change your approach with Toronto's more physical style of play?

AARON WARD: Whether they are physical, it doesn't change the fact that we still approach the game the way that we are capable of playing the game. You get yourself lost if you start trying to go out and play a chess game with them.

Q. You spent more time getting rid of the puck in your own zone as opposed to what happened against Montreal; did Toronto give you less time to get rid of it?

AARON WARD: Especially for the fences, you have a realization that you have very little time out there. As soon as you have someone out there, get rid of it. Get it going to your forwards. They are obviously a fast and physical team, and with that combination, you have to create your own space and own time and get things moving forward.

Q. With Mats Sundin possibly playing in Game 2, do you have to make any changes for that?

AARON WARD: I think it's one of those things if it happens, it happens and we have no control over it. I don't think it's going to change how we play the game. If Sundin comes back or until that happens, we shouldn't even spend the time worrying about it.

End of FastScripts...

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