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May 26, 2001

Bob Hartley


Q. From your aggressiveness your players tonight, quickness; you think you surprised the Devils a little bit?

COACH HARTLEY: We caused lots of turnovers. Our pressure was great. We applied, like the pressure that we wanted on the Devils defensemen. We did a great job at driving the net, gave us some big goals, and this is a great hockey club. You really have to work in order to generate your chances and tonight we took advantage of them.

Q. Can you explain why you went with Bourque and Foote against the A-Line instead of Blake and Bourque, switched them up?

COACH HARTLEY: It's a combination of defense and offense. We want to really take advantage of Rob Blake's big shot and he gave us a big powerplay goal, so just -- we are going to see a lot of Ray Bourque/Rob Blake and Adam Foote throughout this round. You could see some changes, but we felt, for Game 1 we wanted to put Adam Foote and Ray Bourque together and keep Blake, Rob Blake for the offense to allow him to jump in the offense, be creative and that is exactly what he gave us tonight.

Q. Was the plan right from the start; for lack of a better phrase beat them to the punch, take the game to them?

COACH HARTLEY: Game 1 is always very important. You guys from Denver like-- I don't know how many times you heard this, but we want to take advantage of home-ice advantage. I think that once again, tonight we did. It is only one win, but it is a good win for us. Our players feel real good. They gave us a great game. Everyone in the lineup really stepped up like we skated very well. I think they were a great skating hockey club and when we move our feet like we did tonight, I think that we have a chance to win.

Q. With the lopsided score, your penalty might be overlooked but some key points in the game second period it was very important in particular?

COACH HARTLEY: We had some good kills. Again, I think it all goes with pressure. Our neutral zone pressure was great, like we jammed them a couple of times. Then once they were in our zone we had lots of block shots. Our guys are paying the price. Eric Messier, Sean Podein, Stephane Yelle, Dave Reid, Steve Reinprecht, they don't hesitate to drive, to block shots, and that is a big key. I think that Patrick once again gave us some big saves but overall like we did a good job of keeping the pucks on the outside.

Q. Can you talk little bit about Joe Sakic's game as well there was so much talk about the No. 1 lines going into the game and if you could address that the way you guys shut down their top line you guys played great?

COACH HARTLEY: Joe was simply Joe. Once again gave us a great game. Gave us some big goals. Hey Joe Sakic for us it is pretty normal to see performances like tonight. Joe Sakic has been carrying this hockey club from Game 1 of this season and tonight was not different. This is a great hockey club and like to do a job like we did against their top line, I think that lots of credit goes to Ray Bourque and Adam Foote and whichever line played against them. We were able to frustrate them and to keep them away from our zone.

Q. Returning to Blake for a second, he didn't seem to play any after he scored the goal. Was he injured or was it your decision or his decision not to play?

COACH HARTLEY: No, after the Devils started to run around a little bit, Robbie was getting little bit excited on the bench. He wanted to be out there and he wanted to go out there and look for the big hits. I felt that that was not the right time. We can't afford to lose like such a valuable player like with injuries so we just decided to keep him quiet on the bench and like take the win and prepare for Game 2.

Q. How much was hitting them part of the game plan watching their previous series teams that really hit them hard gave them more trouble and how well did you do it through the tonight?

COACH HARTLEY: Again it goes with skating. When we move our feet we have a chance to get some body checks and I felt we might have surprised them a little bit. We got some great hits from everyone. Our discipline was excellent. We are a good team when we finish body checks. Our angling was great and by that, I think that we took away lots of scoring chances out of them. Plus our transition game was excellent.

Q. Describe the mood in the locker room before the game started with the players?

COACH HARTLEY: It is another Playoff game. I think that we all recognized the importance of the game, everyone was ready. We had a couple of good days of practices, like boys were fresh and we worked all year to be ready for this game. If we wouldn't have been ready for that Game 1, like maybe we were in the wrong business.

Q. Other lines that played against the Devils top lines most of the same Sakic line was out there?

COACH HARTLEY: I like to go toe to toe. All our forwards, we worked like practices after practices to make everyone very reliable in the defensive zone. We don't want to be recognized as a defensive team but we want everyone to understand that once the puck is in our zone we have to take care of our own zone. I think that everyone of our forwards can do that and like that's probably why we are in the Stanley Cup Finals.

End of FastScripts...

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