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NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: DEVILS v RANGERS


May 24, 2012


Patrik Elias


NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Practice Day

Q. How do you finish this off right away? Is there an importance to finishing this off right away to not give them life and not let them off the mat, sort of?
PATRIK ELIAS: Well, of course. We don't want to go back to Madison Square Garden. They're playing a little bit different hockey there. They feed off the crowd and the excitement there. We've got to play better than we did yesterday.
I thought in the first period, yeah, we scored some goals. We could have maybe more. Marty may have made some big saves for us to get us a chance to stay in it. And they make it hard, so we have to go into tomorrow's game and just play the same way that we know we can play and be aggressive and dictate the tempo of the game and try to outwork them, obviously.

Q. Was there a point with the six‑game winning streak at the end of the season where it was the Florida series where you guys had the feeling and the confidence that you could do this and get to the position you're at right now?
PATRIK ELIAS: We had some good runs for the regular season, but the playoffs are something else, obviously. Each round and each team we play is different. We had a tough time with Florida. They made it hard on us; and the way we played against Philly, we consider Florida to be one of the greatest teams in the league, and we played some great hockey with them. So when you go through some tough rounds and the rounds against the Flyers. Then we played five great games, so it builds up the confidence.
I think even in this series we feel if we stay and play aggressive hockey and everybody's on the same page, then we can succeed. That gives you a quiet confidence that you can win those hockey games.

Q. Did they learn how to play against you guys or did you guys have a letdown?
PATRIK ELIAS: We came out hard. We also put the puck in. They wanted to be the aggressive team, and we were the team that I think the first ten minutes in the first period‑‑ the one period, they scored one goal. We kind of tried to dump the puck in, and it goes kind of on a break there. So it wasn't a big deal to us. That happens.
I think that the first ten minutes of the first period of the game we did a great job of breaking out and coming out of our zone and putting on the pressure. They were still aggressive and they came at us hard, but we did a good job of getting the pucks out and getting some rushes off of that. So that was the difference.
The second period and third period, the second period especially we couldn't do that. We got the pucks and we didn't get the pucks out at the right time. Or if we held on to the puck, we tried to make a better pass to make a better play. I think we got the pucks on our sticks and everyone was just trying to get rid of it as quickly as we can.
It had a little bit to do with them because they were aggressive, and they didn't give us much time to come out under control. But at the same time, we could have done a better job at putting that pressure that way and making that good pass, giving the other guy a chance to go on the forecheck. They came back in our zone, and spent too much time in our zone, so...

Q. How do you avoid thinking that the series is won?
PATRIK ELIAS: I don't think anybody thinks out there that it's won. We were in a great spot. We are in the position we'd like to be right now. Obviously going home and playing home game six. But we know it's going to be a really tough game tomorrow.
Obviously, they've got to feel good about the game they played yesterday. It was one of their best games in the series, and we know we've got to be better if you want to move on tomorrow. So nobody thinks that it's over. That it's going to be over tomorrow. We'll do our best.
We obviously don't want to go to MSG, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. I think we're pretty level headed, all of us, and that's a good thing.

Q. You talked about you have to play better. Specifically what do you have to do in the third period here? You go out of the 12 goals in the series. What do you have to do to lead tomorrow?
PATRIK ELIAS: Can you repeat that? What do we have to do better in the third period?

Q. Yeah, 8 of the 12 goals you've allowed in the series have been in the third. How do you play better in the third so your leads don't slip away?
PATRIK ELIAS: Well, didn't we score two goals yesterday and they got one in the third? So as long as we get more goals than they do, that's fine. I don't think that's an issue anybody's thinking about. We're not talking about it as an issue for us. We just have to play the same way, the same aggressive way we played at the beginning of the game. Sometimes that's hard to do with energy, but we're playing four lines, and we can trust everyone that goes on the ice.
So if we can play the same way and the same energy in the game that we need to play for 60 minutes. In the third period, too. Don't just sit back, obviously and let them take the tempo of the game.

Q. You've been in this position a few times in your career and one win away from getting to the Stanley Cup Finals. Do you share something like that with the rest of the team as far as how to control it?
PATRIK ELIAS: Not yet. I didn't share that, but I think we'll talk about it a little bit tomorrow. I've been in position to be successful. You've just got to focus, try to keep your mindset and your focus on one place, for five minutes in one period. Keep doing the same things. That's why we're at where we are right now because we've been doing these things right away. We've just got to trust it. That's the bottom line.
So don't get too ahead of ourselves, and just keep plugging away, doing the simple stuff and sticking with the game plan that we had and not worry about what's going to happen at the end of the night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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