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May 20, 1997

Ron Hextall

Eric Lindros


Q. Eric, did you know the first goal was in?

ERIC LINDROS: Yeah, I saw it cross the line. It went over by almost a foot, I thought. But --

Q. In a sense, do you feel that you are fortunate to get out of here the way they kept coming back?

ERIC LINDROS: Yeah, we had a lot of turnovers in the third period. And in a way it was pretty similar to what happened in game 2 in our building when they would jump ahead by a couple of goals and we could come back. Once we went ahead by two again we ran out of time. It was pretty similar to game 2.

Q. Eric, your first Playoff hat trick, what was that like?

ERIC LINDROS: Well, I mean, everybody wants to produce and to do what they can to win hockey games. And, you know, it is always special to a certain extent. But it certainly means a lot more to win the hockey game and to have a couple of days here to come back and go back to Philly and have a couple of good days of practice and be ready to go Friday night.

Q. You are in control of the series at this point. Are you in control of the series or is it just so helter skelter out there --

RON HEXTALL: We are up 2 to 1. I don't know if you want to call that in control. They are a hell of a hockey club. We have to be ready for whatever they do. You saw what they did in the third period against us, we have to be prepared.

Q. What was the difference between what happened in game 2 and what happened to you tonight the way they covered you?

ERIC LINDROS: I don't know. You know, pick your spots and -- I got some great passes tonight. Johnny gave me a great pass early in the third period. And, I mean, I took two strides and shot it. I had a lot of time. I was getting great feeds, and a lot of ice to work with at certain times and got lucky with a couple of the breaks.

Q. Did you feel like you were in control tonight? That you personally, I mean.

ERIC LINDROS: No, I don't think anybody felt in too much control tonight with the way things were going. It was a bit of a yo-yo style of game. But we got the win. It is over. And we can -- as I said before, we are going to go back to Philly and work on some things and be prepared for Friday's.

Q. Do you think you could overtake the puck on the empty net goal, chasing that from behind, did you think you could catch up to it?

ERIC LINDROS: Mike has got a lot of speed. I don't know. It was a meaningless goal. We were up by a pair. Only a few seconds to go in the game, and really didn't mean a whole lot.

Q. At what point did you feel late was safe?

RON HEXTALL: When the buzzer went off. They came back, they came hard. We have got to give them credit. We did some things in the third period, certainly, that we didn't like. But as Eric alluded to today, they can really turn it up. And they certainly turned it up in the third period and created some good chances.

Q. How does that prepare you for Friday knowing that they can do something like that or how do you prepare for Friday?

RON HEXTALL: We prepare the same way every night or at least we strive to. You know, it is certainly in the back of our mind how good a hockey team this is. You don't get to the Final 4 if you are not. You don't like to give up a 2-goal lead. But they got a couple of goals that were pretty good, and we had a bad break, certainly, on the other one.

Q. It seemed like you made as much a statement tonight as well with the goals, but with your composure, your discipline. There were a lot of opportunities. You could have taken retaliation penalty, you didn't. Was that something you went into this game wanting to stay away from?

ERIC LINDROS: Well, we were warned before the game of that and told that the first incident was going to be called. It wasn't going to be a lot of situations where they were going to take a pair. The first situation, the first action would be called. When that occurs and someone is in the box, you get an opportunity to go in the powerplay, it makes it a lot easier to turn your cheek. I thought even in the third period the referee was good. I mean, he was calling fouls. He was calling -- when there was a penalty, he was calling a penalty. He wasn't letting things go. On both sides. We had to kill off a few. They had to too. And just because it is the third period doesn't mean you slide the whistle away. I thought he did an excellent job tonight.

Q. Is it tough for you to walk that line between being physical and doing the things that are part of your game and not doing the things that can lead you into penalties and hurt the team?

ERIC LINDROS: No, it is not a bit of a fine line. In game 2, when things got swinging a little bit, you know, you have to protect yourself to a certain extent. And I was certainly on guard. And I tried to put other people on guard. And if nothing is going to get called, then that is the way you go at it. In that sense, I don't think it is real good for hockey by any stretch. I think the first -- you know, when I did something to start a problem, I deserve to go to the penalty box. But certainly when someone else does it and there is a penalty called, it is a whole lot easier for you to turn your cheek.

Q. Do you think you lost any composure in the third period at all?

RON HEXTALL: No, I didn't. You can tell me about it if you want to, but I didn't feel like I did, no. I felt the first two goals I got were pretty good. And the third one I laid down for Janne. And, I don't know, I talked to him about it, he said his foot caught the ice and I just didn't get the puck clean.

Q. Who told the team that penalties were -- that the rules were going to be enforced?

RON HEXTALL: I think both teams knew.

Q. I mean, was there -- did an official tell you before the game or the coach or how was this communicated to you?

ERIC LINDROS: Our Coach came in and expressed what he heard down the hall.

Q. Ron, are you feeling warmer and fuzzier much?

RON HEXTALL: They were pretty easy on me the first two periods. I was pretty surprised. Maybe my karma made them warm and fuzzy, I don't know.

Q. In the third period there was a play stopped about eight minutes left. You skated over to the last water bottle, and were you having a conversation with some of the fans at that point?

RON HEXTALL: No. I had a little plastic thing on my bottle that I don't like on there, and I bit it off and tried to slide it through the glass. It wasn't quite wide enough to throw it over.

Q. Do you get a charge out of beating them after the name calling and the chanting that they have done here?

RON HEXTALL: Quite honestly, I think some people give the fans a little too much credit. I have never been a player that has been intimidated playing in any building. I certainly don't foresee that in the near future.

Q. Do you feel like after a long layoff and coming back Sunday, now you are starting to get on a bit of a roll?

RON HEXTALL: I don't know. I felt good tonight. I felt like I made some saves and I was moving all right. And, I don't know, I feel all right. I can't say I am on a roll. But I certainly feel more comfortable now than I did maybe a week ago, or before game 5 against Buffalo now that I have played a few minutes.

Q. More and more confident?

RON HEXTALL: Yeah, your confidence needs to grow. When you haven't played in 40 days -- or one game in 40 days, it is a little difficult. But I worked hard in practice, and that is where you really need to get your confidence from. It sounds funny, but we have a lot of 2 on ones and 3 on twos. We practice. That is where you've got to work hard and work out the kinks.

Q. Gretzky scores (inaudible) you know, we have seen that a billion times before. Did you guys feel like you had some fighting off to do here at that point?

RON HEXTALL: Well, they came hard. That was a break. But, I mean, they created it. If they would have gone back to forechecking, they wouldn't have forced that turnover or whatever it was. So they created that to a degree. And I really liked the way we responded, though, as a team. We came back and we didn't get down. And we certainly had every reason to. But we didn't get down and we responded in a real positive way.

Q. As a veteran observer, do you see an elevation in Eric's game?

RON HEXTALL: I think I was asked earlier that. I think the big thing with Eric is he is more consistent, I think, now than he has been in the past. And I think that is the maturity thing. And I think it is a thing that comes with having a few years in the league, and learning how to play in different situations, and when to lay it on and when to back it off and things like that. He played a terrific game for us tonight.

End of FastScripts...

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