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June 11, 1999

Lindy Ruff


Q. Lindy, you seemed to be more on your game last night with the hitting and the banging. You took the tempo; especially the first period and a half, two periods of play. Yet they seemed to survive it and come on in the third. What happened?

LINDY RUFF: Well, we did play a pretty strong game for two periods. Got to give them credit. They got a couple of powerplays and got a little momentum built up. Two very evenly matched teams really. I think you are going to see periods where we are going to do pretty good. You are going to see a period here and there where they do pretty good. Look at the last two games, probably it has been as close as the score indicates and physically we are trying to pound away trying to get that to take a toll on them. We know they are a little bit older, but they got grit and character behind that age too that helps them.

Q. How is the overall team's spirit?

LINDY RUFF: Spirit is very good. Obviously we are disappointed we lost. The second game was an opportunity. We thought we are going to go out and try to steal another game; not even steal it but go out and deserve to win. We had a pretty good game going until the third period, but we realized we are coming back to our building; we are 7 and 0 in our building, get to play in front of our fans. The team is excited about doing that. It is the best of five right now with us having home-ice advantage

Q. How much does Modano's situation weigh into your thinking and how would that, if he is not available, how would that affect you?

LINDY RUFF: That doesn't weigh at all. Modano is a great player, but I think the one thing you can't overestimate is how good the Dallas team is as a team. They will miss him offensively, but they are a rock-solid team defensively. They still won't give you a lot of chances. They might lose a little offensively without him, but because he is out of the lineup doesn't mean they are not a good team. They are still a darn good team. I think you can liken that to the fact we had Satan out and really didn't skip a beat. There is other guys that played bigger. He has really gotten a little bit more ice time; become more important as the series go along. He will be missed but for us to think it is going to be easy for us now would be going down the wrong road.

Q. Do you change some of your defensive tactics now?

LINDY RUFF: Well, I still think you look at Modano's line, whoever fills in there, you have got Lehtinen, Hull who are two great players. You have got to be aware of them. Obviously we let Hull slip away on the third goal, lost coverage. The matchups, you still got two very good lines with Nieuwendyk and now got Lehtinen and Hull between whoever they put there if he doesn't play.

Q. There has been some speculation some talk about Peca because of the physical (inaudible) --

LINDY RUFF: He is not -- I think somebody even tried to rumor that he has been hurting. He is not hurt and he is -- I don't think he is worn down. We have had as much rest as any team in the Playoffs to this point; obviously more than Dallas. I thought he played very well. He banged really hard last night; scored a goal for us. Probably one of his better games.

Q. Is it a dangerous tool for both teams to juggle, penalty -- (inaudible) is that a dangerous tool for both teams to juggle? I mean, obviously with the penalty situations on either side.....

LINDY RUFF: I think that is a word involved between teams, really you counter that with how disciplined you can be, I mean, powerplay killing situations, our powerplay has been going pretty good and our penalty killing has been doing a good job. Obviously you can't get in any personal vendettas at this stage of the game. Right now it is wide open, do whatever you can to win.

Q. (inaudible) try and tone it down or let the flow of the game take care of it?

LINDY RUFF: No, we tried to turn it up in Game 1 and 2 in the hitting department. We knew we would probably take a couple extra penalties. I thought they purposely went through the crease a few times, there was no doubt -- Sloan one time after the puck was checked off, his check just dove onto the ice and slid through Dominik. If that is what it takes, that is what it takes. I think that is something that you are going to have to see out of our team, traffic in front of Belfour. We are going to have to fight through their bodies to get to the net. I think they did a better job of that. But they had guys going to the net. We had guys kind of opening up for one-time shots. That is an adjustment we have to make where we get somebody just outside the paint -- even if he gets in the paint for a while, so be it.

Q. You are talking about getting in our goalie's face. They are talking about getting in your goalie's face. Would you prefer that the guys both teams just stay away from the goalie?

LINDY RUFF: You know what, we are talking about the big prize here and there is nothing fair right now, I realize that. I will do anything to win. Hitch is going to be the same way. Fair is -- that is a word you use for the weather in Buffalo in March and April. (LAUGHTER)

Q. (inaudible) knowing that especially what you saw last night, does that concern you in anyway that they are going to take such a physical --

LINDY RUFF: I know Scruy, he is a little bit -- I think his frame is a little slighter than Dominik's so it was a pretty good matchup up there for us.

Q. After watching those two games, Satan, for one, hasn't stood out in this series yet. I know he came back with an injury against Toronto. Would you like to see more from him and the team --

LINDY RUFF: Well, I have touched on the offensive part of it. We are got to get some guys going to the net. I don't think you saw in watching the tape again, I know I didn't see it, I didn't see more than one or two times where we shot a puck and somebody was standing in front of Belfour. We had guys going to the left of the net; guys going to the right; a guy would be driving wide and we would have a guy going below the goal line. We have got to get back to what we did with Joseph (phonetic), stopping it in the front of net, pucks going off of legs and skates and rebounds, there is a guy standing right in front of him, I think the odd time you end up in the paint, if you looked at the Zubov chance last night early in the first period, Langenbrunner was right in the paint; the goal wouldn't have counted. They made a point of standing in front of the net. That is what we got to do. Belfour is a good goalie; if he sees it, he is probably going to stop it. We have got to get some traffic in front of them. On the rush we didn't do a good job of that. We had guys crisscrossing looking to open up for one-time shots. We got to get a guy driving to the net and looking to shoot through people.

Q. You said you won't have your players intentionally take a run at Belfour, but you also said (inaudible) --

LINDY RUFF: Well, I think our team is going to protect our goaltender in the same sense that they are going to protect theirs. But if the situation arises, they are going to take liberties, I think. I won't be able to control my players at the same time. I think it is -- right now it is an eye for an eye. It is a war. I mean, let's not kid ourselves, it is a war - do anything to win.

Q. (inaudible)

LINDY RUFF: I think we have taken a lot of pride in playing hard at home. We have been good on the road. You don't win a Playoff series without playing well on the road. We have played well on the road. For the most part we played some pretty good hockey in Dallas. But as far as home goes, you play all year to get home-ice advantage. You have got your crowd behind you, they are all jacked up, it jacks the players up a little bit; you get most of your line changes, you don't have to worry about changing on the fly. That helps you quite often. A lot of times, offensive zone you can put your offensive line out there when you see a matchup you want to get, so, you know, the home team has an advantage in that sense. I think we have taken advantage of it. We have played very well in this building and we expect to play the same way.

End of FastScripts....

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