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May 22, 2009

Rod Brind'Amour

Eric Staal

Ray Whitney


Q. Sometimes during the season players say home ice is overrated. You've got to win anywhere in the playoffs. But now you're in a 2-0 hole, what's it like getting the energy from the home crowd there?
RAY WHITNEY: Our home crowd is always important to us, especially in the playoffs. But more importantly, it's how we play. I don't think it's going to be a direct result of how loud our crowd is. Certainly that will help us and keep us energized.
But, you know, if we don't find a way to play a little better defensively, you know, our chances are going to be about the same as they were in Pittsburgh. So I think once we clear that up, from there we're, I think, we're fine.

Q. How's the team decompress from a very emotional 7-4 loss. Because you came up to tie Pittsburgh several times and then you get the loss?
RAY WHITNEY: This team has been pretty good all playoffs of leaving the games behind, win or lose. We've had some ugly games this year, where we haven't done very well in both series prior. Believe it or not, this team's pretty good at just leaving it there and moving on.
You know, a win tomorrow night and we're back to 2-1. It's the same situation we were in with jersey. So we're not in a panic mode, but we realize the importance of tomorrow night.

Q. 14 shots in the last two periods last night. What does this team need to do in a Game 3 to get more shots and be more aggressive on the offensive end?
RAY WHITNEY: You have to keep the puck away from them. They had the puck most of the time, so it's pretty hard to shoot the puck from our zone. Obviously, Malkin's a concern that we have to address as is Crosby.
I think beyond that, it's just more about how we played defensively as a group, and not so much on trying to shut down one or two guys.

Q. You talk about shutting them down, is it just better puck handling? Is it more effort? What is it if you could put it on a couple of things that you would say?
RAY WHITNEY: I wouldn't tell you, probably, what it was. It's not effort, no. You have to talk about the two best players in the world or two of the top three, and that's never going to be easy.
You're not going to have one guy that's going to be able to defend them by himself. So as a group we have to adjust how we play defensively in our own zone. And the opportunities that they did get were all avoidable. They were mistakes made not just by one, but two or three players.
So, if we can adjust that and play a better game defensively and start from defense first. You know, we scored four goals. If you score four goals in the playoffs that should be enough to win. And last night our defense was the difference in that.

Q. What's the pressure level?
ERIC STAAL: I don't think we're focused on that. We played two games in Pittsburgh where we probably didn't play our best hockey. But we had a chance to win both games. Didn't happen. Now we're back here at home and in front of our fans. Obviously a huge Game 3, and we'll be excited about that.

Q. Confident that you can control things defensively as a team?
ERIC STAAL: Yeah, no question. We've done it all year. We've done it especially these last three months. We've got one of the best goaltenders in the world, and. We've got three guys that can do the right things on our end to make sure that we're keeping them off the boards and going the other way.

Q. What does Cam Ward mean in this game?
ERIC STAAL: We've got to be better defensively in front of them. I think just keeping more shots on to the outside and less of those prime scoring areas. If we do that, he'll have a good chance of making those saves.

Q. 14 shots in the first period, only 14 in the last two combined. How do you guys get just more shots in front of Fleury for Game 3 tomorrow?
ERIC STAAL: It's being simple. Being on the attack. When you get those opportunities, do a better job of throwing them at the net. Remember, we're making sure we're going out for those rebounds. And you know, we're going to be in our building. Our fans are going to be extremely excited and it's going to be loud. We've got to build off that energy and come ready to play.

Q. Do you see Crosby and Malkin producing, do you feel added pressure yourself to step up and be that star leader here?
ERIC STAAL: Yeah, you want to be counted on offensively. You know, that's where I'm at with this team. Obviously, it hasn't happened for me in the first two games. It's been close a few times. Just got to stay with it, stay battling.
I think for me and you ask anyone in this locker room or their locker room, whoever scores, it doesn't really matter. You just want to win the game. That's what my main focus is is helping my team win, and hopefully we can get on a roll in Game 3.
I think we can do a better job of throwing pucks to the net a little bit more. Sometimes we're looking for extra plays and extra passes where I think our team is best suited and we're driving and shooting and going to the net and getting the rebounds and making it ugly.
The pretty ones will happen when they come. But we've got to focus on throwing pucks in the net. Get in there, crashing and we'll get our offense that way.

Q. Lot of physicalness in the last game. How much do you think that carry over will be because it wasn't necessarily the physicalness in Game 1?
ERIC STAAL: It's the playoffs. As the series goes on, that's the way it's. That is the way it was for the last two series of our team, and it will get bigger as the games go forward. We've got to be ready, making sure we initiate and stay away from the stuff after the whistle and just play our game.

Q. The goalie's always the focal point. Do you guys need Cam to be better?
ERIC STAAL: Well, I don't know. It's tough to say. We've went on this run because of Cam. He's our rock. He's our goalie. He's like I said before, one of the best goalies in the world.
You know, I'm sure last game there's a few that he would want back. And there's a few I'd like to have go in the net for me.
So he's a huge part of our team, but we know that he'll respond and be ready to go in Game 3, as well as the rest of our team.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I would say at the end of the day it doesn't matter what's going on. It's all about results this time of the year. We know that we didn't play our best game. And we're going to have to play our best games at this time of the year to win.
We've had some breakdowns on our end, and they're just too good. They've got tremendous talent. If given those opportunities, they're going to bury it. We're just going to have to be better.

Q. Your backs have been to the wall several times in the playoffs series now since '02. Where does this rate as far as backs against the wall?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Oh, this one's probably can't get too much further back. We're getting pretty close here. We're going to have to fight back. We'll have to put up our best effort, and leave it out there.
You know, it's not owe on owe definitely not a feeling of we're out of it or anything like that. Like I said, we fought back all year. Whenever we've had to come up with the big game we have and, obviously, this is that time again.

Q. Coach said before the series that you guys were going to have to pick your spots as far as skating faster. Seemed like last night they were more at the speed they wanted to be at last night?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, they got -- like I said, they've got obviously some big goals at key times. I don't think it was a 7-4 game. They just seemed to capitalize. That's what they do.
They're a very talented team, and we've got some obviously some great players. The best in the game. You give them room and give them space with the puck, they're going to hurt you and that's what happened.

Q. You've been confident about this group. You guys have played so well defensively for two and a half months. What needs to happen in this series defensively?
RAY WHITNEY: Well, number one we've got to do a little better on our end. They've exploited us a little bit there. Some coverage issues, but that's what good teams do. They get their space, and I think we need to take that away.
Too much time and good players with the puck, they're going to find guys open. We need to do a little better job being quicker to the puck and eliminating their time with it. Having said that, it's not the easiest thing to do. They've obviously got great players. But that's one of the areas we can be better. And obviously we get our special teams going a little better, and it might take some pressure off.

Q. It's means a lot coming back here, but the crowds don't win games. You guys still have to go out and do it right?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, definitely. It's going to be a boost, obviously, coming home. We haven't played here in a while. So the crowd always gives us a boost.
Obviously, that's not the be-all end-all, we still have to go and play. But if we can get on a roll, the crowd will definitely be a help for us.

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