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May 24, 2010

Peter Laviolette


Canadiens – 2
Flyers - 4

Q. The importance of a strong start has been emphasized again and again throughout these Playoffs, but the team has gotten so much success in the second period.
COACH LAVIOLETTE: Yeah, you're right.

Q. What can you talk about what you've seen from them throughout this run?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I thought Montreal played really hard in the first period in all of the games. The first few games we were able to overcome it in the second and third period, and Game 3 we weren't able to overcome any period.
Tonight was the same thing. It was a strong first period by both teams. It was tight checking; there weren't a lot of chances.
But you're right, the second period for us in the Series -- I said it after it was over, it seemed like the second period really decided the Series for me. We were able to play good defense and generate chances and the second period was big in all games.

Q. You seemed to have a pulse of this team that some coaches don't have for years. Calling timeouts and switching lines, and doing this and doing that. How do you think you got the feel for this team so quickly and why do you think that is?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I'm not sure. I think when you're with -- even though it's a change halfway through the season, you spend enough time with the players and you understand them, and I think they got to understand me a little bit.
But really it's the players that deserve the credit. They played extremely hard. They were faced with a lot of adversity this year. They were resilient. I think at Christmastime we were 29th in the league, so they're the ones that have to go out there and fight back, and they did all year.

Q. Chris Pronger was talking about that. I don't know if you watched when we first took over, but we weren't that good in the beginning. When do you think the light bulb went on for these guys to understand what you were trying to get them to do?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: It was right around Christmastime. There was a ten?game swing where we only won two out of ten. We won a big game right before Christmas. I remember -- yeah, it was right around Christmastime. We won one game before Christmas, and we went on a little streak after that. We went into the Winter Classic, and the guys played -- they played hard.
There was a stretch when we were doing very well, and we ended up towards the end of the year we ended up losing Boucher and Carter again -- sorry -- Leighton and Carter to injuries. And Bouch came in and the team struggled for just a bit, and then we were strong down the stretch again.
Like I said, it's been a long climb. When you're in 29th place and you're 14th in your conference and you're trying to fight your way out of it, it's almost like every game is so important. Every game has meant something since Christmastime. It's been a long grind. I think in the end it's now a strength of ours. We're a resilient group because of what we've been through.

Q. Coach, now the stage is set between you and Chicago Blackhawks. What will it take for the Flyers to win the big Cup?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I'm always a believer if your team can play their style and their system and implement their game, you've got a good chance of winning hockey games.
We'll start preparing for the Chicago Blackhawks, and we'll be ready when the puck drops. I know they had a great year. They won a lot of hockey games. I think they were maybe third or fourth overall in the league in the standings. They've had a lot of success this year.
But in order for two teams to get this far, I think both teams have to be playing well, so it should be a good Series.

Q. Montreal didn't seem to be able to get a presence in front of the net, now Chicago has the red hot Dustin Byfuglien. How do you stop him? Will it be harder after going against smaller forwards?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: He's a big guy. I'll be honest, I haven't looked too much into Chicago yet. That would be a good question for a couple days from now. But you're right, he's a big man. The goal -- I think the goal that he scored to put them in the Finals exemplifies what he does best, which is to get to the front of the net.
We've got a big guy out there too, No. 20. He does a pretty good job of tying guys up in front of the net. So I'm sure they'll see a lot of each other.

Q. You've never shied away from talking about getting to where you are right now. But when you first got here, did you believe you'd be sitting here talking to us today as Eastern Conference Champions?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I think if you don't believe you're going to win the Stanley Cup, then you probably won't. We've talked about it as a group from the start. That has to be your goal. There's a lot of short-term goals that go into that, and there's a lot of things that have to take place. But, ultimately, if you're not in it to win it, you're probably not going to win it, so...

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