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June 8, 2006

Jussi Markkanen

Michael Peca

Chris Pronger

Ryan Smyth


Q. (Inaudible).
RYAN SMYTH: Just start getting more patient and get back to playing our game and that's simple hockey; get the puck in deep, minimize their speed through the neutral zone and find ways obviously to get the puck by Ward.
Q. They kind of played your style in Game 2, blocked a lot of shots, seemed a little frustrating --
RYAN SMYTH: I don't know what the shot block total was, but it was up there. Obviously they are getting in front of the pucks and they are getting in the shooting lanes, so it's a matter of us trying to execute properly, making sure that we get the puck through so that we can give ourselves a chance.
Q. (Inaudible).
RYAN SMYTH: That has been talked about a little bit. Obviously they collapse like San Jose, clog up the middle a lot and it's a matter of getting away from them in the shooting lanes so that we can get the puck to the net and, like I said, creating traffic isn't the problem. It's more creating confrontation with the D so that we can maybe get the puck through.
Q. Do you feel like you let Jussi down a little bit in Game 2?
RYAN SMYTH: There's no question we could have played better in front of him. I thought he played pretty well for not playing a couple of months.
Obviously, frustration crept into our game and hopefully we can rebound from it for the next game.
Q. Did their power play tire you out a little bit, having your first game in a couple of months?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: We faced a lot of power plays in the third period when -- (inaudible). It was all right. I didn't feel tired and I feel fine now too, so I don't think it was a problem at all.
Q. Jussi, what is the mood being down 2-0? Any different from with the Sharks being down 2-0?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Pretty much the same way, but we got to come out harder and better, of course, but at the same time we were up 3-0 in Game 1 and we kind of gave that one away and then they played better in Game 2 and they won that one.
Obviously we got to come better in the home games and we're looking forward to the opportunity to tie this series at home.
Q. The circumstances under which you have gotten here aren't exactly ideal. Is it better that you just have been thrown into it and having not had much time to think about it?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Like you said, it's obviously not the ideal, but I try to enjoy every moment of it and just, you know, just try to help the team win, give the team the chance to win.
Q. How do you think you handled the moment? Wasn't overwhelming or wasn't too big?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: I felt fine. I felt really good out there. If I can keep that same feeling, I really believe that we're going to be fine in Game 3.
Q. Is the theme for you guys getting back to the way you played against San Jose not being crazy and not opening up?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Doesn't matter who you play against, you got to play -- you got to be a solid defensively and that's definitely what we're going to do. At the same time, you got to create some offense, too, and it is a combination. In a combination that when you have a good -- when you play your system, you execute your system, and the defensive play is there, the offense will come at the same time.
Q. You guys didn't play your system well the last four periods.
JUSSI MARKKANEN: We played, but we couldn't -- we weren't able to make a 60-minute effort, and Carolina is a good team, so you really have to have to play your best and keep your game together the whole 60 minutes.
Q. How do you think the home crowd and the energy in the building can help you?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Oh, it definitely helps. We have seen it before and it has carried us -- helped carry us through the bad moments. We're definitely going to need that on Saturday and Monday, but at the same time we got to put our game together and we'll be fine.
Q. What about their goaltender, what is the key to beat him?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: You just have to create chances and eventually the pucks will go in and we'll see. We saw it in the first game that we were able to score and obviously he got the shutout in the Game 2.
But like I said, our team is able to score goals and doesn't matter who is there against.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about the penalties that were given away, and what is the key to stopping that the next two games?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Oh, obviously you can't take 10 penalties against a team like Carolina, who have a really good power play. We got to play smarter and more disciplined and of course, our penalty killing has to step up a little bit, too.
Q. Did you feel much pressure from the Canes defensive players, were they running at you, did you feel a lot of pressure from them because they are known to push the goalie around a lot?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: They come to the net hard, but obviously at this time of year it's playoff hockey, everybody comes to the net and sacrifices their bodies. You just have to be ready for it. There's going to be some bumps and bruises. Who cares if that helps your team to win.
Q. You did some pretty good things yesterday, is it good news for your confidence after such a long break?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: Oh, yeah, of course, I feel way more comfortable now than before my first game. I felt good out there. I felt like I'd be able to give the goaltending that is needed to have the team win.
Q. Anything in your career that could prepare you for this?
JUSSI MARKKANEN: This, this around here?
Q. Yes.
JUSSI MARKKANEN: I have been in the Finals in Finland and in Russia last year, and in that moment it was the biggest thing, of course, but I mean, Stanley Cup is the biggest prize, biggest prize in hockey in my mind. Obviously these are the biggest games in the hockey world, so it's really exciting and it's going to be really exciting moment on Saturday when we hit the home ice.
Q. (Inaudible).
MICHAEL PECA: We'll have to bear down in and take a little more initiative when we're out there.
Q. Not to slight Jussi or anything like that, last night they got three power play goals. Your best penalty killer is your goaltender. Is really covering up some flaws in the first three rounds -- (inaudible)?
MICHAEL PECA: Obviously, Dwayne has done a tremendous job at times on our penalty kill. If you take the time and you go back and look at tape, what you are going to find is we're allowing Carolina a lot of offensive zone time, more than any team has ever had, and when we're successful, we're disrupting on the forecheck and on the entries and not allowing teams to set up as we have allowed Carolina to set up. They are pretty highly skilled when they get that. It was kind of like the Detroit series, once we allowed them to start gaining control in our zone, then they were able to score some goals. In the second two series we were much better there than that in that area. Those are the areas I think we really need to improve on, block shots, giveaways, takeaways.
Q. (Inaudible).
MICHAEL PECA: That's what makes teams successful whether you are the Oilers or anybody. It's the little intangible things within a game that allow you to win or don't allow you to win.
Q. (Inaudible).
MICHAEL PECA: I think there's times where you get into this environment, you are in the Stanley Cup Finals and I think it's just human nature for some guys to try and maybe do a little bit too much. I think we just got to play within our own games and you know, and feel comfortable with that and just trust in what we can do best and not get caught up in trying to do too much and kind of taking ourselves out of the play.
Q. You lost won Stanley Cup with Buffalo, second one is starting to sniff away, what is going through your mind?
MICHAEL PECA: Just all the positive flow we're getting from reporters today. It's wonderful.
Q. (Inaudible) Can the team take inspiration from (inaudible) -- I know it's been a few weeks but it seems to be an inspiring story -- (inaudible)?
MICHAEL PECA: I think when you sit down there once in a while in the room you look around and reflect on what this would mean to certain individual's careers and lives, obviously, Rem is a guy that your (inaudible) and you just kind of stop and you realize what he's overcome in the last little while to be able to play and be in this situation and contribute. So it's certainly a great story.
Q. Do you think that linesmen cracked down on Brind'Amour yesterday or did he have not as quite a good a day?
MICHAEL PECA: They did a little bit. There were times where they made his stick down and to his credit he was pretty obliging in doing so a lot of the time. But any great faceoff guy is still going to look for an edge to cheat. We all try and do it. You just want to try and make sure that you are eliminating any advantage a guy can have especially on home ice.
Q. (Inaudible).
CHRIS PRONGER: I think just following the roles that those players have played all year long and all playoffs long and we have got to make sure that we're sticking to our game plan and sticking to what we do best. Obviously we're not going to tic-tac-toe the puck around, much like they are, and they have got those types of players on their team. We have got to grind it out, play that physical style of play, keep the puck in cycle, get pucks to the net, crash and bang and get loose rebounds and try and put it in the net. We were able to do that for a lot of Game 1 and got away from it in Game 2 and it cost us.
Q. (Inaudible).
CHRIS PRONGER: Two different styles of play, and they are a much more (inaudible) the way they move the puck and the way they try to play, through puck possession. We have got to play better defensively, take away passing lanes and not allow easy access into our zone and allow them quality scoring chances in the middle of the ice, keep them to the perimeter and the outside and by doing so, it's going to be a lot easier for us to defend.
Q. (Inaudible) In San Jose Craig said he thought it was a different feeling coming out of last night, humbled a bit -- (inaudible) not trying to draw parallels between those two, are they exactly the same or --
CHRIS PRONGER: I think you look at how we responded to being down 2-0, but pretty much we have got to rectify the way we play not only defensively but in our forecheck and (inaudible) trying to control ourselves and not looking for big hits. If they are there, they are there. Play smart defensive hockey and get in lanes and make sure you are on a defensive side of the players because they like to use little plays like that, that are effective when teams are running around.

End of FastScripts...

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