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May 13, 2004

Ken Hitchcock


Q. What happened, exactly, to Ragnarsson early in the game, and what's his status?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Marcus has a hand injury and we'll give you a firm update on it tomorrow.
Q. Your take on your first period?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, you know, Marcus went out in the first shift, and it was one of our players got sick, so we were really scrambling on the back end. We were a little bit tentative, which we knew we would be, first game back in our building, a little bit at the start but I thought we really got going the second half of the period. They played an unbelievable second period, and then started the third period exactly what we wanted to do. Scored on the first shift a great goal and we gave up that breakaway, we pinched when we shouldn't have, and gave up the breakaway. That kind of took the air out of us and took, obviously, the air out of the building, also. To have that many scoring chances, and then get that goal, you know, everybody is elated, and then we followed up with a shift where we are hammering back in the zone again and then give up their breakaway to probably a player you don't want to give it up to.
Q. On that pinch, is it just being overaggressive and just wanting to go for the kill?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Yeah, a little bit. I mean, you know, it's a play in a hockey game, but I thought we had a lot of things going, especially from the last six or seven minutes of the first period and the whole second period, I know we were down 2-0, but we had so many things going well and so many scoring opportunities, our players felt like it was a matter of time we were going to get one in. And then we did, and then that goal really deflated us a little bit.
Q. This is probably the first off-night you've had from your goaltender, do you think he's going to be able to rebound from this?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, it's new ground for him. He's a really competitive guy. I'm sure he's like the rest of us. He's disappointed, but this is a new challenge in his competitive life, and I think knowing his character and knowing the way that he competes, he'll step up and play very, very well after the first set of games.
Q. Talk about your power play over the last six or seven games?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, our power play has not had a lot of success from the middle of the series on. That's something probably we kind of stuck with the same two units most of the year. We kind of have always been able to weather the storm. We are creating chances but we're getting no second chances. We're getting a lot of bang plays at the net but there's no second opportunities there.
Those are things that we'll discuss tomorrow morning and see if we can get it corrected. This is a real quick turnaround for us, so we have to really regroup quickly here.
Q. Who was it that got sick and how did it affect your team?
KEN HITCHCOCK: I'm not saying right now.
Q. You said a few minutes ago that the teams seemed a little tentative coming back to this building and this building has been -- you're 6-0 here; why would that be?
KEN HITCHCOCK: We've been away from it for a while. It's like coming off a road trip. We're really hungry and wanted to do really well. We were tentative moving the puck and we got scored on early in the game, so you're kind of, all that nervous energy is kind of, you know, you've got to regroup and I think we did. We deserve a lot of credit for mounting a comeback.
But, you know, like I said, it's a 60-minute game and we had lots of time in the third period to get it back, but we -- you just don't want to give up an odd-man rush like that after you work so hard to get your first goal.
Q. It's obvious what you want to do with getting first goals, but is tonight a by-product of them not being accustomed to being down early and it took a while to get going?
KEN HITCHCOCK: No, I just think, you know, like a lot of things had to change quickly because of what happened in the first couple of shifts. You know, Rags goes out and now you're scrambling. Like I said, we had to make a lot of changes. You're going to get situations like this. It isn't going to be clean through the playoffs. We've been lucky to have it pretty clean, but this is the first bump in the road where we were down 0-2 in a hockey game, especially down early at home.
Proud of our effort but we did make some mistakes. We gave up a semi-breakaway on the power play for a goal and we gave up that breakaway for the third goal. So those are things you want to try to eliminate. We were not able to take advantage of our odd-man chances. It was kind of a reversal game. They got a couple odd-man rushes and took advantage of it, and we had all the zone time and couldn't take advantage of it. We just seemed like we were in their zone the whole game, but we couldn't take advantage of it. They blocked a lot of shots, we missed a lot of shots on net, missed the net a lot, so sometimes that gets frustrating.
Q. Is it going to read weird to fans tomorrow; you're the experienced team, they are the young team, you're bringing them back to your building for two games and you have a chance to dent their psyche if you come out strong with the crowd behind you.
KEN HITCHCOCK: What I mean by tentative is sometimes you're so hungry, that your puck movement at times is a little bit tentative. I thought it was our puck movement, it was a little bit tentative and we got hemmed in our zone a couple of times early in the game, and then we got scored on, so now you're trying to scramble back from that.
Q. Did you try to get too fancy early?
KEN HITCHCOCK: No. I just think we -- like I said, I don't want to make -- the first shift, you're switching up, never had a d-pair play the same time. You're scrambling back there a little bit.
Q. Why is the first goal that's been so important throughout this whole playoff year, for everybody it seems like, all of the time, it seems the team who scores first wins 80, 85 percent of the games?
KEN HITCHCOCK: I think it's so close, the competition, it's so emotional, that I think you can -- and your teams have to play on such an edge because there's so much parity now. If you lose that edge a little bit, which happens a lot to home teams, I think it becomes like skating uphill. I think it's so close and so competitive, that when they scored that first goal, we had to face something that we haven't faced all year and we had to do it today.
Q. Did you blame just the pinch on the breakaway goal or was there a bad read on the back end, too?
KEN HITCHCOCK: I don't know. I've only seen one replay of it, but, you know we just got caught staring at a guy on the wall. We had two people going for the same people and we gave up the middle of the ice to Lecavalier. Those things happen.

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