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May 20, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Game Four
Phoenix – 2
Los Angeles – 0
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Tippett.
Q. Yesterday you said you had yet to see a full 60 minutes of Coyotes hockey. Do you feel you got that today?
COACH TIPPETT: That's the best we've seen in this series, that's for sure. We ended up getting the lead. I thought we competed a lot harder and a lot more battles. When you do those things, you give yourself a better chance to win.
Smith was excellent. Our penalty killing was excellent. We kind of ground out a win.
Q. How nice was it to play with a lead for the first time in this series?
COACH TIPPETT: Well, I think if you've seen the way our team has played, not just in the playoffs but all year, a lead is valuable for us. It's just one of the traits of our team, probably like a lot of teams in the league, you get a lead, you feel you can push the game along. That's exactly what happened tonight.
Like I say, our penalty killing was excellent when called on, Smitty was excellent. Our guys competed hard. Little things that make the game move ahead for you. We live for another day.
Q. Is this the first time in this series that your team has been able to play the style it wants to play and dictate rhythm?
COACH TIPPETT: Yeah. Part of it is getting a lead and part of it is I just think we had more people jump harder into the battle tonight. When that happens, you can find some more successes.
The big success of winning is all about what you do to get the win. I didn't think we were working hard enough in some battles in key areas. Tonight we were better in those areas. We got a couple goals. We made them stand up.
Q. Talk about how this might affect your psyche going on from here. Do you think you took away any of the will out of them the way you played today?
COACH TIPPETT: We're worried about the way we played. Obviously our goal going into today's game was to push it home. We think our fans will be riled up when we're on home ice. We got a chance to stay alive again.
We're going to go home feeling like we can grab some momentum out of this game. There's some areas we can certainly embrace that we did better in this game than the other games in this series. You go home and try to push it along again. We're in the same situation.
Q. Shane's effort today, talk about Doaner, what he accomplished for you today.
COACH TIPPETT: Two goals. But you don't see all the things that happened behind the scenes in the dressing room, inspiration for the guys there, how much he cares about this team and winning.
When you can do that behind‑the‑scenes stuff, bag it up with the on‑the‑ice stuff, it speaks volumes for who he is. We don't have to sit here and talk about Shane Doan. Our players know, the league knows how strong‑willed a guy he is. He went into this game thinking, We don't want to be swept. That was the effort he put forth. Great to see.
Q. Tip, down in the series, talk about the spirit of this team.
COACH TIPPETT: Well, we talked last night in a meeting about we hadn't think we'd played as well as we'd like in this series. We'd been through a lot of battles together. We might as well continue battling for a while. That was what the mindset was going in.
We put too much work in to let this slip away. It's time to see if we can work back a little bit.
We put that work in tonight and we got ourselves one, and now we're going to strive to do that and see if we can up that for two.
Q. What kind of a lift did Adrian Aucoin give your puck movement out of your end tonight.
COACH TIPPETT: He's a veteran defenseman. He can eat up some minutes for you. Solid with his play. For not playing for probably 10 days, he came in and gave us some solid minutes.
Real boost to us.
Q. The other day you talked about bending‑but‑don't‑break team. Out‑shot again today. It puts a lot, I would expect, of the burden on Mike Smith.
COACH TIPPETT: Depends where those shots are coming from. If they're coming from outside, that's one thing. If they're coming from right in the guts of the ice, that's another. We didn't give up near as many chances tonight as we gave up earlier.
The bend, don't break, we have to play a certain way if we're going to have success. It starts with competing, you know, blocking shots, things like that. If there's outside shots, a lot of dumped pucks to get to Mike Smith, we'll deal with those. Those aren't scoring chances.
Our guys have hung around the game. That's why we've been successful in the playoffs. Smitty makes big saves when he has to. The rest of our team competes hard in front of him. We give ourselves a chance to win.
Q. After that last game, Shane was privately livid with the way things went down. Can you give us a sense of how he channeled that?
COACH TIPPETT: That's an area we have to do. The frustration, you know, whether it be calls or not playing as well as we like, we have to channel that into doing positive things on the ice. That's what we say about Shane.
I mean, just what you saw, we've seen for two days sitting around, that frustration. The ability to push that into the game, into a positive manner, speaks volumes for our captain.
Q. How is Aucoin?
COACH TIPPETT: I haven't checked yet. We'll see.
Q. I know you like to focus on what your team is doing. How excited are you to see what can happen in this series when your team has momentum and the Kings have to face some adversity for really the first time in the entire post‑season?
COACH TIPPETT: We're going home. We're excited about going home, playing in front of our fans again. Like I say, we took some steps forward in some areas we thought were lacking in the series. We've got to make sure we recognize those and make sure that we bring 'em for Game5. That's all we're concentrating on right now.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
Questions for Mike Smith and Shane Doan.
Q. Mike, was there a particular save that let you know you were on your way to a good game today?
MIKE SMITH: I don't know if there was one. But I knew it had to be my best game of the series. Obviously we can't afford to lose that game. So it was important to obviously have a good start, get in the game early with some saves. Kind of just rolled from there.
Q. Shane, the last couple days, yesterday it seemed like you were smoldering over the loss in Game3. Today you came out. Talk about your game today.
SHANE DOAN: I don't think anybody on our team is too excited about being down 3‑0. Yeah, tonight was one of those that we wanted to try to control our emotion as much as we can and use it.
It was one of those we have to be better. We had to be better. Obviously we count on Smitty a lot every single night. He was unbelievable for us.
Q. Shane, in Arizona there's great admiration for you by fans. Here they tend to boo you quite a bit. How do you take that? How does it make you feel?
SHANE DOAN: As a player, I think it's great. You like it. Every player enjoys it. I mean, we boo their team when they touch the puck. So it's one of those things you enjoy. I think it makes you feel like you're at least kind of doing your job.
Q. Mike, adversity seems to become cliché for this team. You like to have your backs against the wall. Has that almost helped you playing loose, having nothing to lose?
MIKE SMITH: I don't know if we like adversity, but we've had to deal with it an awful lot this season. I think it's made us stronger as a team.
Tonight we had nothing to lose. We had to make sure we played our best game. That would give us a chance to win. We obviously had a huge game from Doaner. It trickled down through our lineup. He was unbelievable.
I mean, he was such a great leader tonight, like I said, it trickled down. Every guy knew that he was going and they were going to do their part to try to force this series to Game5.
Just a huge effort from Doaner, but from everyone, too.
Q. Shane, it's been done before, coming back. You're still behind 3‑1.
SHANE DOAN: Yeah, we recognize we put ourselves in a tough position. We also know it has been done. I guess that's what sports are all about, trying to do something that someone hasn't done for a while, try to do things that the odds are kind of stacked against you. Nobody wants to be in the position we're in, but everybody wants to prove they can kind of answer that call.
We got an unbelievable group of guys in our room. It sounds cliché‑ish, every team that reaches this point says the same thing about their guys, but I really think our guys are special. We got just a good group and I like it.
Q. Shane, it seemed like you did a better job of kind of thwarting their forecheck today. How much did Mike playing the puck a lot play into that?
SHANE DOAN: I think there was one play in the third period about nine minutes left, soft dumped it in past their D men. Smitty went all the way to the boards, chipped it out. We were able to get the puck and have some pressure down in their zone. It's literally like having an extra defenseman out there.
It's a safety blanket maybe we count on sometimes too much. But he's the best in the league at it. I mean, when he gets the puck, us forwards, if he misses you up ice, it's like, Come on, Smitty, what's going on, you didn't see me?
It's unbelievable that you would even ever have that cross your mind as a forward, but he's literally that good. We all are very grateful and enjoy it and take it for granted at times.
Q. Shane, it did seem like you were able to break out of your zone a lot easier. Was there something tactically you did and how much Adrian caused being back in the lineup?
SHANE DOAN: Aucky's helped a lot. He's a guy we count on. We're fortunate that we have seven or eight D that we can play. Having him back there, the experience that he's brought has been invaluable for us.
I think a big thing is we were able to make that first pass over and over again. As a group we made that first pass better. We got it past the blueline. Too many times we were trying to make the cute pass just short of the blueline. The next guy was having trouble handling that pass. They were able to turn it over. If we can make the pass over the blueline, it opens up a little more ice.
Q. How big of a difference was it to play with a lead for the first time in this series?
MIKE SMITH: Anytime you're not chasing the game, it obviously helps. Obviously we got a lead. When we got the second goal, we realized that we could win this game. It takes everyone in the locker room, especially our team. But it was a game we deserved to win tonight. We played up to our capabilities. That gave us a chance to win.
Obviously scoring first was a part of it. We played more like we're capable of. Like I said, that gives us a chance to win on any given tonight. Tonight was obviously a huge one.
Q. Shane, you talked earlier about the team approach to this game. What about you personally? I know you weren't happy with several facets of that last game.
SHANE DOAN: Well, I don't think it's any different than any other player. I think might have been caught up a little bit in trying to be overly physical in the other games. Had opportunities to play with the puck, make plays, take the puck to the net in the last couple games and didn't do it as well. It was brought to my attention by some people that's going to help you out with that (laughter).
I think that was a big part of our game tonight. There were a few more times where we had pucks where we could try to get to the net.
They're a good team. They're playing their game well. We got to, for the most part, play our game better. We got to do a better job of playing our game and not worrying about what they're doing. It was better for us tonight getting the puck to the net, having some opportunities in and around Quick, second‑chance stunt opportunities.
Q. Shane, going forward, how impressed are you with what the Kings have been able to do playing on the road in the playoffs? When a team is that good winning on the road, do you try to do anything different in this next game?
SHANE DOAN: No, I don't think so. I mean, you look at what they've done, I think it's nine in a row or something. Everyone's talking about it. Two ways to look at it: they're either due to lose or we got to find a way to stop them. Law of averages says you're going to lose eventually on the road. So it happens.
Next game wouldn't be a bad one to lose.
Q. The term 'desperate hockey,' some coaches despise that term, and others don't. How does that come into play, if at all?
MIKE SMITH: I think we played desperate since January (laughter). But that goes without saying. We were down 3‑0 going into this game. If there's any point in the season when you're desperate, I think knowing you can go home if you lose this game, I think that's where desperation sets in.
We didn't panic. I think that was a big part of why we played so well. We made plays tonight. We got pucks behind their D. Like Doaner was saying, we got some second opportunities in front of Quick. We did the little things it takes to beat a team like that.
We have to worry about the next game. If we want to win that one, we have to play as good as we did tonight or maybe a little bit better.
Q. Shane, you were back with Antoine and Boed for this game. What is so consistent about that line?
SHANE DOAN: Vermy has been unbelievable. They both are so fast. I think that's one of the things. I think everybody to a man on our team has been encouraging Boed to take that next step. He could become a superstar. Playing in Phoenix, you might not hear about him that much. But he has the ability to be that good.
We're encouraging him to hold onto the puck. Him and Vermy, I've been trying to create some space and I've been reaping the benefits of their play.
Q. Shane, can you talk about the transition from the first to the second period. It wasn't like you were lethargic in the first period. But you came out and played a much better second. Was something said in the dressing room? Also your second goal, did you see it go in?
SHANE DOAN: I didn't see it go in. Boed did. He was telling me for sure it was in.
Between the first and second, we talked about winning the second period all the time, how it sets up the third. You know what, it's funny, every game, when we need a big game from Smitty, he's been absolutely amazing. At the end of every game, always kind of remind him about how unbelievable he is when we need a big game.
In the first period, the reason we come out of that period 1‑0 is because of him. As a team, I think we gain so much confidence from him. I think all of a sudden it's like, Smitty's on, we're going to win. That's I think a big thing.
But you can't say enough about how in every single time we've needed a big game out of him, you don't want to say the S word, but he always throws it out there and it's been unbelievable.
MIKE SMITH: Shutout (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports