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May 31, 2001

Bob Hartley


Q. I am just wondering if you have figured out yet what you think Larry is going to do tonight with his top line? Do you think he will keep them on Sakic or move Holik to that line?

COACH HARTLEY: I feel that we are going to see a combination of both. We will probably see lots of Holik and if he can get Holik he will definitely try to put Elias. We are going to go either defense versus offense, or offense versus offense. I think that they have last change, we are going to do our best to get our plan to work. Hey, they have a great hockey club. They have lots of depth, plus I feel that if we can skate the way we can, line matchups like don't become like a very important factor.

Q. Both teams have been talking so much about discipline in the series and obviously in the previous game you guys had the 1-0 lead and had a couple of powerplay chances and you scored one goal, but didn't convert more. If I can get some thoughts about, I guess discipline and the importance of the special teams.

COACH HARTLEY: Discipline, early in games is so important because that's where we feel that referees really want to lay the law and to send a message to both teams that they want some good tough hockey, but they don't want any retaliation. They don't want any stick fouls, so obviously taking advantage of special teams in the Playoffs is vital. We had taken care of our powerplay on our first goal, but our penalty killing is giving us some big kills right now. Our powerplay is working well, and certainly you look at the Devils' side, like they both have an excellent powerplay and an excellent penalty killing so it makes it real tough for both teams to generate any kind of offense.

Q. Can you just be more specific about your powerplay and what you thought it didn't do well after it got that first goal?

COACH HARTLEY: It's all a matter of execution. I think that you look at our powerplay since Game 7 against L.A., it's probably one of the majors reasons why we are here today. It gave us some big goals. Lots of times, special teams is a matter of confidence. Execution, confidence, I have said that many times that I feel that special teams come by waves. You get on a good wave, score a couple of powerplay goals during a game then you get shut down for a couple of other games, then your top scores go down. But I feel we have plenty of confidence it's just a matter of reading what the Devils are giving us and making sure that we bring pucks to Brodeur.

Q. So much talk about whether they will match Holik against your No. 1 line. I was wondering any concern on your part not being able to match up very well with their No. 1 line and getting the right "D" pairs out there out on Elias and Sykora?

COACH HARTLEY: I feel we are pretty deep on defense. Certainly defense is one of our many strengths. Here we are in the Stanley Cup Finals dealing with two great hockey clubs so I think that line matchups many times are overrated. I think that like people like to exaggerate when it comes to line matchups. Obviously both teams have some great offensive line, great defensive lines and there is plans on both sides to take advantage of certain lines. But when it comes down to skating and comes down to executing both our game plans like I just said, I think that line matchups, you know, become not that important. But certainly it is always interesting to see how the game starts and how the lines match up. But again basically our plan is to take the lead and play with the lead.

Q. You talked about how the referees like to lay the law down early in a game. Does it follow then in your mind it is obvious that they tend to let a lot more go as the game goes on?

COACH HARTLEY: I feel that they did a real good job establishing like their own game plan early in games, and by then, like we didn't see like fouls where like scoring chances were taken away or things like this. They want to let players play and at this time of the year like the best teams are playing; plus the best referees are referee-ing so, like we have to trust their judgment. Those guys are at the top of their game also, and without those guys, there is no games. They are doing their best and like they proved that like they are -- they prove that and they earn that, they belong in the Stanley Cup Finals. So we have to go with those guys. I felt they did a great job in the first two games.

End of FastScripts....

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