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June 15, 1999

Ken Hitchcock


Q. Ken, Lindy said before the game that if his team outworked your team they would skate off as the winners did that happen tonight, do you think?

KEN HITHCOCK: No, I don't think so. I think they outworked us in some areas like we outworked them in some areas. I think they did a good job in front of their net, a real good job. We didn't get any loose pucks. We had a lot of loose pucks there, but they won a lot of those battles. And you know, we weren't able to maintain, I think, some territorial play until really the third period and it was a game. I mean, we had a couple of individual mistakes that gave them their two goals, but I think from our standpoint, the area that we probably weren't as strong as we were, say, in Game 2 and Game 3 was the front end of their net, the slot area, we put a lot of pucks into those areas, but they battled them out and I thought that their defensemen held up good tonight. They were able to make some adjustments with the couple days off on moving the puck and they held us up really well from getting in. So it gave them a little more time to move it out so we weren't able to maintain that territorial play that we have for the last couple of games.

Q. How much of this was just Hasek playing goal and how active he was around the goal, basically taking charge?

KEN HITHCOCK: Yeah, I don't know. I don't think that -- I mean, he was good. Eddie was good too. I don't think that Hasek was the factor in the game. I think both goalies were good. But I think that when it came to defending, they were able to for at least two periods, defend as hard or even at times better than we did in those critical areas. I thought Hasek was good and he made some great saves, but you know what, so did Eddie. In the second period he made two or three big saves there too. So it was a game. It was a real good game. It was well played by both sides. I thought that, you know, they had some -- they made some line changes and changed some checking assignments that early in the game had some impact and then we made some adjustments later on that worked a little bit.

Q. Bounced over Chambers. Ludwig coughed it up (inaudible) --

KEN HITHCOCK: Chambers was unfortunate because we really had -- we had great cycle rotation going and his stick hooked in the boards, I guess, and Sanderson is a Guy that is pretty fleet of foot and he is good one-on-one on breakaways, so we knew they were in trouble when it was I am going in.

Q. Ludwig?

KEN HITHCOCK: Ludwig's was just -- that was a "D" to "D" pass that kind of got flippy and what are you going to do. Those are -- everybody makes individual mistakes like that. You -- those guys have played a lot of minutes and played well for us in this series.

Q. Did you realize before the game this would be Buffalo's best game of the series?

KEN HITHCOCK: I think that, you know, when you have got two days off and you are taking the hits that they were the last couple of days which, you know, I was -- it was kind of humorous because as coaches - and I think Lindy probably feels the same way - the series is kind of just getting started and already people had it ending. It was funny because when it was 2-1 in the two series before that we had played in we were kind of talking in terms of this series is really getting underway, now we have kind of reached the halfway point or a little bit beyond and it is the best of 3 and we have got home ice back. But we viewed the series after three games as just beginning. A lot of people had these people ending. I don't think you get to this level and you win as many games to get to this level if you don't have a tremendous amount of character stored up there. I thought both teams showed a lot of it. Them early, and then us late.

Q. You showed some frustration on the bench after the Ward goal. Did you like the way the game was going until that point? Did you like what was happening with your team?

KEN HITHCOCK: Ward's goal -- is that the one on Ludwig -- yeah, we were really playing well at that time. We had real good control and the feeling on the bench was you could hear the guys talking: Look, it is really coming. It is really coming. We have really got home movement. We had four shifts in a row that were great shifts. Carbonneau missed that -- the goal there; Hasek made a great save on the cross-ice play. Then Nieuwendyk's line had a good shift. Modano's line had a good shift; then we just gave it kind of easily and it took the wind out of our sails a little bit.

Q. Was this Ed Belfour's best game for you tonight, came up with those big saves in the second period; was it important for him to have tht kind of game for you?

KEN HITHCOCK: I think he is playing really well. I think both guys here are playing outstanding. I mean, in a normal case these could be 5-4 games how hard the forwards are working in front of each team's goaltender. I feel like we get -- I am sure Buffalo feels the same way, we think every night that Eddie plays for us he gives us a chance to win. We feel that - and I am not sure -- I am sure Buffalo feels the same way-we feel like with Belfour in goal that he can win the game by himself at times and he has shown that ability in these Playoffs. He made three great saves in the second period, you know, when we were kind of on our heals a little bit and Hasek did the same thing the third period, he made two or three no brainers. We thought Reid's goal was in. That is what you need if you are going to win here.

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