After their morning practice, Brandon Prust and Daniel Brier of the Montreal Canadiens, spoke to the media about Henrik Lundqvist, Thomas Vanek, Dustin Tokarski, and Prusts’ feelings about returning to New York City and Madison Square Garden. It’s an interesting mix of things to hear from a player, Prust, so familiar to New York Rangers fans. There is no doubt that Lundqvist has been amazing in net for the Rangers, but Torkarski isn’t a bad goal tender either. When a team is confident in their goalie, the goalie has room to stand a little taller.
Q. Do you think there is even more you can do to get to him or get him off his game to get some goals past him?
BRANDON PRUST: Yeah, I think you can always get more traffic and take away his ice. You know, we can still do a lot more going to the net and looking for rebounds in the pucks and try to screen a little bit more.
Q. It seems like Vanek is enduring quite a bit of scrutiny right now. How do you see him handling that? Do you think it’s fair?
BRANDON PRUST: Well, he’s been around a long time. You know, with guys and players like that you’re always expected to get a ton of goals and a ton of points. If you don’t get them, people are going to start talking. So we’re just worried about him playing the Montreal Canadiens style of hockey and staying positive. He’s a good player and someone we need to be good for us here.
Q. Has it been challenging not to think about your experience here and seeing familiar faces?
BRANDON PRUST: Yeah, I don’t think it’s challenging. You know, you don’t have to erase any memories or anything like that. It’s kind of cool coming back to New York. It’s a city I’ve lived in for years. It’s going to be good to go back to MSG and doing what I used to do there.
Q. It can excite you that much more with the potential to win a game at the Garden as a team?
BRANDON PRUST: Yeah, I think it was similar as to going into Boston. It was fun are us to go in there and steal games. And MSG is one of those buildings too. You have a hostile crowd and one of the best arenas, especially for hockey game or playoff hockey game in the world. So we’re excited we’re going there.
Q. Daniel said he had some interesting goalie situations in Philly. But have you ever seen anything quite like what happened with Dustin Tokarski in this series?
BRANDON PRUST: I don’t think I’ve ever been through a situation like that, but the kid did well. He’s been skating with the Black Aces for most of the playoffs and he does a job like that. That’s why you see they have a lot of trust in him. Even though we don’t know him too well, the organization and the goalie have a lot of trust in him.
Q. Did you see anything in that day or days leading up to it, personality, demeanor-wise that this kid can handle the pressure? Because obviously that’s not an easy thing to step into.
BRANDON PRUST: Yeah, I think even game day after morning skate, you know, just we were talking about something, and just him joking around. You know, I thought he would be maybe a little more nervous, maybe a little more, but he was joking around and chattering. You can tell he’s been through it. He’s had some experience in his past where he’s been through stuff like this and done a really good job. So we’re hoping for more of the same.
Q. Knowing Henrik as well as you do, when you see him playing like this, are there things that can you think of your time here or do you say things that might throw him off? Or is it just hard to get him off his game when he’s like this?
BRANDON PRUST: He’s one of the best for a reason. He’s tough to get off his game. We just have to do a better job of making it tough on him. These goalies are in the NHL. If you let them see pucks and you’re not getting rebounds, you’re not going to get many goals. So we’ve got to get back to what we were doing. We were getting in the net, getting rebounds, getting dirty goals, shots from the points. Guys were screening and we scored a lot of goals throughout the playoffs like that and through the season, so.
Q. Do you think it gets to him (Vanek), or has he been through this kind of stuff before?
DANIEL BRIERE: It’s funny. You know, in the Boston series, I think the first two games people started getting on him, and then he had a big game where he scored a couple goals. You know, that’s Thomas Vanek. You know, he’s dangerous. At any time he can come out and hurt you and make big, big plays. So I’m not too worried about him. He’s too talented, and he seems to find a way to get it done when you don’t expect him.
Q. Is this just the sort of thing that gets amplified or magnified?
DANIEL BRIERE: I think so. Like you just said it, sometimes when you’re losing everybody’s looking to pinpoint the problem somewhere. You know, look, I guess it comes with the territory. When you’re expected to be, and I was there before and you’re expected to make things happen offensively, your focus is a little bit more on you. I think Thomas (Vanek) is used to that. It’s not something that’s going to faze him or surprise him.
Q. Do you think in Game 2 that you guys figured out a way to force them to turn the puck overcoming out of their zone compared to Game 1 the way you were playing there?
DANIEL BRIERE: I don’t think it’s really figuring them out. But I thought we did a much better job on the forecheck. The first game, for some reason, we didn’t have our legs. We turned the puck over way too much. It’s really not the way we had played so far in the playoffs. I’m hoping it was just a bad game and it’s not going to happen again. But at the same time, we did a much better job and we got back to the way we were playing in the second game. You know, faced a good goalie. He made some great saves. He gave him a chance to win, and you have to respect that.
Q. What have you seen from Dustin Tokarski going from obscurity to the spotlight that he has?
DANIEL BRIERE: I’ve had some crazy goalie stories in my time in Philly in the playoffs. But for Dustin the way — this story is different. I thought he battled hard. He played well for us the last game and he gave us a chance to win. At the other end they had a goalie that was even better and sometimes that’s going to happen. But Dustin has really nothing to feel ashamed of. I thought he played extremely well, and like I said, he gave us a chance to win.
Q. What was your impression his demeanor being thrown into that situation?
DANIEL BRIERE: I thought he reacted well. He seemed comfortable. He made the saves that he had to make. He didn’t seem too nervous. I’m sure on the inside he was, and anyway, I would have been. But he seemed in control.
Q. You guys have to change the way you play at all when you have an inexperienced goalie?
DANIEL BRIERE: Not really. I think for us it’s finding the desperation to come back in this series. That’s what we have to find. We did a much better job in Game 2. Lundqvist was great. Sometimes it’s going to happen. Carey stole some games for us in the Boston series, you know. He stole one there in Game 2 for them, but we have to play and somehow find a way to play with even more desperation in Game 3.
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