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May 18, 2010

Simon Gagne

Michael Leighton

Chris Pronger


Montreal – 0
Philadelphia - 3

Q. Do you feel like you've finally arrived that you get a table all by yourself?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: (Laughing), I didn't sit in the middle because I knew Prongs was coming.

Q. Can you talk about what this night was like for you and how you're able to handle what you did handle with the number of shots you faced?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Well, I knew that after last game they were going to throw a lot more pucks to the net and drive the net a little harder. I think the first period they definitely did that. They were throwing it from all angles and shooting for sticks.
I kind of expected that, so it was a good first period for me. I felt really comfortable, felt good. Second, third was a little bit easier. We kind of got our feet under us a little bit and played better.

Q. Somebody said to you that you would join the record books with Bernie Parent as the first goalie in 35 years to pitch back-to-back shutouts. Did you ever see yourself in that kind of position?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Never, no. It's obviously an honor, but a shutout to me, it means a little bit, but the win means a lot more to me. You know, we could have won 3?1 and I would have been just as happy. We're just looking at the next game now and rolling forward.

Q. For a guy who has kind of bounced around in your career, to hear this entire arena chanting your name for the second straight game and to have another shutout, what does that mean to you to hear the fans as you guys are up 2-0 here?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: It's obviously exciting when you hear that. I don't think I'm going to hear that in Montreal in a good tone. But we had a great crowd. It's hard not to get up for the game when you hear the crowd roaring like that especially the National Anthems.
We're happy to go to Montreal. I think there are a few guys, and I'm excited to play there. I know it's a great arena to play in.

Q. We're sitting out there watching these first periods and you're getting bombarded, you had the six shots on the one power play. A lot of goalies really like to be tested well in the first period to get themselves into the game. Is this something that sits well with you the way it's unfolding here?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: It's his fault, no (laughing). Sometimes it's good to not face shots, but sometimes it's good to get into it a little bit. So it kind of just depends on the mood you're in and how you're feeling.
You know, tonight they were on us right off the bat, and I felt good. We did a good job clearing on our early rebounds, and our penalty kill was good. You know, some nights you almost want to not get tested early and just get perimeter shots to see the puck, but that's kind of just how you feel and how the day's going.

Q. Yesterday you said almost like other goalies talk about playing intrinsically or playing intuitively, and you're not. You're a thinker. I think you even used the words "I think it out." Does that make it hard for you to communicate with other goaltenders? Do you understand other goaltenders?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: I'm a goalie, so I understand what they're thinking and what they're going through. I just try to be as normal as I can. Right now, obviously, we're in a great situation, and I'm not trying to think too much. I'm just looking ahead to the next games.

Q. Chris, what do you think has made the power play so successful so far this series?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, the easiest thing is to keep it simple. You know, when we've kept it simple and got traffic in front and got pucks to the net, we've been fortunate enough to hit our spots and have them go in.
You know, tonight we were 2 for 2 off the hop. You know, it's important, especially when you're giving up three and four power plays to the other team in the first period. It allows you to kind of -- especially when you're keeping it simple, not getting outside of the comfort zone. I think that last one there at the end was kind of just killing time and not allowing them any opportunities.
But when it's clicking like that, guys are getting pucks to the net, and we're getting good traffic and things like that, the simpler the better for us, and it's working.

Q. What is it about you, Edmonton, Anaheim, Philadelphia? You're on a nice run here. Are you able to share those experiences with these guys in the locker room?
CHRIS PRONGER: No, to be honest with you. Each team has its own different identity and own make-up of players. Its own identity, as I said. So can you use some of the experiences that you had, but you're really forging and creating your own new ones and everybody's along for the same ride.

Q. Chris, can you just put into words what Simon's return has done and what that productivity has done for the offense?
CHRIS PRONGER: On a couple of fronts. You know, getting it back. He's obviously a guy that's very opportunistic and can put the puck in the net as we've seen. He's great on the power play. Him and Richie work very well together, both five-on-five and on the power play. He's sound defensively and does a lot of different things for us out on the ice.
Sometimes it gets a little overlooked because he's a goal scorer, but, he's a big part of our lineup and a big piece of the puzzle.

Q. You've played some of your best defensive hockey of the season right now and you've given up some shots, but cut down on quality scoring chances. What do you think has been the biggest key to that success for you guys?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, kind of two-fold. One, it's goaltending. Obviously they're doing a great job of making the first save. And as defensemen we need to do a good job of, A, clearing the front of the net, and, B, clearing loose pucks so there are not the second and third opportunities in the prime scoring areas.
You know, Leights has picked up right where Bouch left off, and playing great. That first period wasn't exactly the start we would have liked, but we held the fort well for us and made some great stops. A couple one-timers off the power play there that easily could have had eyes and slid in. He was up to the task and made the save.
So when they're playing well like that, it makes things a lot easier. You look a lot better when your goalie's making the save.

Q. You mentioned the identities of Edmonton and Anaheim. What is this team's identity?
CHRIS PRONGER: Well, you tell me. I'm not going to give that away (smiling).

Q. Did you answer that last one?
CHRIS PRONGER: I did, as a matter of fact. I think you might have asked it. But I'll answer it again for you.

Q. Thank you.
CHRIS PRONGER: Because you might not have been in that scrum. You probably came in in overtime, you're good at that, Chuck (laughing).
You know, I think we're at our best when we're at our simplest. That's getting pucks in deep using our speed, crashing, banging, imposing our will on a team. It might not be in the first period, it might not be in the second period. But as we continue to bang and crash and grind, we're going to wear down the other team and we're going to create enough chances.
It might not work every single night, but as we continuing to and push each shift, each period, each game, it's going to have its effects, and we're going to be able to get into our transition game.
Goalies are playing great. You're able to kind of stand-up and create turnovers and do things like that. Our forwards have done a great job of backside pressure. Really it's all about our skating and moving our feet and moving the puck quickly. That's as simple as I can break it down for you, chuck.

Q. You know how it feels to be down 2-0. Now to be up 2-0, how good does it feel to be in this situation?
SIMON GAGNE: Oh, it's tough now. It feels pretty good, but at the same time. No, we've been on the other side, and we know that until the other team doesn't close the series it's not over. For us, we did what we had to do here at home. Get those two wins.
But at the same time we have a lot of things we can improve on our game, especially five-on-five. Our goalie had to be very good for us tonight to win the game.
Our special team was key tonight. But five-on-five for the most part of that game they were definitely a lot better. We're up 2-0, but it doesn't mean anything. They're going to go back to Montreal and try to do the same thing that we did tonight.

Q. Shooters always have sweet spots. It seems like you guys are shooting high, up upper corners on Halak?
SIMON GAGNE: Oh, yeah? You know what, any goalie -- that's a tough spot now to cover. You know, you're taking sometime a perfect shot especially on the goal that Danny B scored - a perfect shot. Doesn't matter if you're Halak or Marty Brodeur or Michael Leighton, it's going to go in.
Sometimes you're going to miss the net and you might create another chance on the other side, but most of the time as a goal scorer, you're going to try to pick those corners and it's just a tough spot for goalies to cover.

Q. Montreal is a team that's completely shut down Pittsburgh's power play -- I mean, Washington's power play, just about shut down Pittsburgh's power play, and you have seem to have gotten a handle on it. What else then, just keeping it simple, have you been doing to make them look very bad on PK?
SIMON GAGNE: You know what, I think it's just about confidence, you know. Sometimes when you're confident on the power play, you're able to make plays a little bit more than usual that you're not scared to do. You just have to keep it simple, and we did tonight.
CHRIS PRONGER: See, told you. Got to ask it again, huh? You didn't believe me.
SIMON GAGNE: Just keep it simple. You throw a puck at the net, and good things will happen. That's a bit what happened on the second goal.

Q. Especially because you're not 100% physically, is there a logical reason why the last few games you've worn the "S" on your chest, or are you just in that thing we call the zone right now?
SIMON GAGNE: On you know what, maybe it's a mix of both, I don't know. I just try to keep it simple out there.
SIMON GAGNE: You know, but that's the truth. No, I have to say it's the truth. I tried to go out there and play well defensively and tried to be open for my teammates. Good things happen right now, and hopefully it's just going to keep going for the rest of the Playoffs.

End of FastScripts

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