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June 19, 2006

Craig MacTavish


Q. Just start with maybe just a general overview of how proud you are of your team and the season you guys put together?
COACH MACTAVISH: Well, I mean, we'll get over the disappointment, but it's pretty hard to get over that right now. But as I said to the players after the game, we didn't do ourselves a disservice in this game.
And the one thing I wanted the players to do is to get through the disappointment as quickly as they can, because it's -- you know, when you work your, life's work is to try and win a Stanley Cup and you fall short like we did tonight, it is a disappointment. But you know, pretty good effort overall.

Q. In your eyes how critical was the five-on-three?
COACH MACTAVISH: It was a critical juncture of the game, and it had been -- we had, I think three or four, five-on-threes of which we failed to connect, a couple of the early games. That ended up being certainly one of the contributing, if not one of the main factors why we didn't win it.
You know, you view the series, the overall series, and you look at, you know, when you get to this level you can't leave one on the table. And we might have left one on the table in the first game and, you know, it was tough to overcome that. As hard as we worked to get ourselves back in the series, you know, that might have been the game.
We didn't lose the series tonight in my mind. Played a pretty good game. But you have to give them a lot of credit for the way that they played. They bounced back after what was a sub-par game for them in Game 6, and they bounced back. We were a little tight, I thought, early, you know. I guess you have to attribute some of that to the pressure they were applying, but we were a little tight early and it cost us a goal.
We didn't get through it, and ultimately was the difference in the game.

Q. Were you surprised that they were more aggressive coming out than maybe you would have thought?
COACH MACTAVISH: No, not at all. I knew they were coming. I have been around long enough to know that a team doesn't get to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals by being wallflowers. And we knew they were going to come. Maybe it was in the -- a product of the fashion in which we beat them in Game 6. It really -- I mean, not that motivation is ever too much of an issue in Game 7, but they had something to prove and came out like that.

Q. How significant was that first goal so quick into the game for them?
COACH MACTAVISH: Yeah, it was big. And, I mean, I thought if we got through the first period, down one goal after the way I saw the game was starting, that we would be poised and in good position. But then Cam Ward shut the door on a few chances that we had in the third period.

Q. Just obviously a break could you tell Playoffs for Fernando Pisani. Talk about -- is this guy going to be a future star?
COACH MACTAVISH: Well, I think it's quite clear he's on the path again. He was a threat again tonight. He had a couple of great chances; one in the first period and then one in the third period that he just had a hard time corralling. It was a rebound that came right back to him.
It was a real good save by Ward, but he had a good opportunity. So he was a threat again tonight obviously.

Q. Cam Ward was excellent throughout the series but, compared to the way Jussi played the entire six games that he had?
COACH MACTAVISH: Well, as I said to Jussi after the game, I have never seen a guy come in under that much pressure and hold himself together so well and play so well for us. He made some incredible saves tonight. And for a guy that hadn't played for as long as he hadn't played to come in and have this type of a performance was certainly inspirational to me and his teammates tonight. And the way that he played -- you talk about, you know, good things happen to good people at times.
Obviously, the ultimate was winning the Stanley Cup tonight, and that certainly didn't happen. But the way that he played and the way that he conducted himself all year was an inspiration to a lot of us even when he wasn't playing, and then to come in and play that well was really, really unexpected. Couldn't be happier for the way that he played.

End of FastScripts...

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