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June 3, 2000

Ken Hitchcock


Q. Was the penalty kill in the first period when you had the -- was that the key you could have been up one?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I thought Arnott's goal was the key, no. I thought we played a great first period and we lost energy on that goal. I don't think that we played with the sense of desperation until halfway through the third period that we did in the first period. I thought that his goal -- we missed some chances on those next two powerplays, but his goal set us back a little bit.

Q. Why did you shy away from the Modano matchup against Arnott's line?

COACH HITCHCOCK: We needed better advantage. There is no point in only breaking even.

Q. How do you think Joe Nieuwendyk is playing? He hasn't got a point in this series? He came on late from the third, but until then, he didn't do too much?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think he is a lot like our forwards. If we are going to win the next game, or expect to win the series, I think we are going to have to play with a much higher level of sense of desperation from the red line in. I think both teams are going to get their chances off the rush, but I don't think that we are getting the quality chances with the time that we are spending in the zone. Part of it is what Jersey is doing, but a bigger part is that we are just not -- including Nieuwendyk and a lot of other people, we are not playing with that necessary sense of urgency. Both teams are committed defensively, and if you are going to score, you are going to have to be a lot more desperate.

Q. This team seems to thrive when they go down in a series. You are obviously expecting them to bounce back once again.

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think we are the team that has to pick up the pace. I thought once the game went 2-1, Jersey controlled a big part of the hockey game until the end. And we had the flurries in the last, like I say, nine or ten minutes. But through that middle period and the start of the third, they were certainly controlling the level of play. We are the team that is going to have to pick it up.

Q. From the point of view of what "it" happened -- you said the Arnott goal was the point of view. From the point of view of what "it" happened, would it be your lack of production on the powerplay?

COACH HITCHCOCK: A little bit, we created a lot of powerplay chances for ourself with our hard work. I thought that we didn't take advantage on the -- on the 5-on-3, I thought that we were just too slow moving the puck, and we could have really put a nail in things if we would have scored on that. But I thought the powerplay in the third period, we just -- we got out battled in a couple of areas that you need to be more desperate in. I think it was the critical one. We needed that powerplay to work, and we didn't take advantage of it.

Q. Do you feel like you didn't take advantage of goalies giving you a chance to steal one, and will you match Nieuwendyk now, change up with Nieuwendyk on that line?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I am not sure. I think we got to go back and look at some things. I think with we have got -- Eddie has played great for us. And I think if we are going to take better advantage of it, I think we have got to be as a group, not just Nieuwendyk, but as a group, we have got to be more desperate than they are to defend. I don't think that we were tonight. I think -- it was a good hockey game, but the level of desperation for them to defend and us to produce offensively was greater on their side.

Q. Beyond the obvious, what were you aiming for trying to accomplish with all the change of the forwards during the game?

COACH HITCHCOCK: Well, I think like everything else, I thought when the game went 2-1, we lost energy and you are trying to create energy by putting people who are working together. I thought we had some speed matchups that looked good for us so we tried to take advantage of that. I think at that time when you feel like you don't have control, the other team's ability to defend is controlling everything. You want to try to create some type of desperate measure on both sides, and it started to work towards the end, but it was a little bit too late.

Q. 7 Playoff series in a row, it has been a very similar game for you. Even tonight you get the first goal; you got real good performance from Eddie. It is not enough. Has that merely heightened your level of concern?

COACH HITCHCOCK: I think, yeah, we are concerned. I think what we are concerned is that our inability to outwork them in their zone. I think that their ability to control that sets up everything. It sets up their counterattack and a lot of their offensive push. We are not spending a lot of quality time in there. There isn't a sense of enough -- sense of desperation. Some of that is what Jersey is doing, but also I think that we can play better in that area. If we do, we will create more chances, but I don't think we can win -- expect to go create the number of chances we are creating, because I think that if we can just score a few -- a couple more goals, our goaltender is playing so well right now, that we can maybe create a gap in a game here that we can take advantage of.

End of FastScripts…

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