Today was practice day for both the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. Here is a transcript from the Montreal camp and how they perceive things at this point in time. It’s an interesting look at the opposition for Rangers fans. See what Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, and Coach Therrien have to say.
Q. What are your thoughts? Did you think that something needed to be tweaked a little bit in your game?
BRIAN GIONTA: No, I thought, obviously, we lost the first two games. We’ve got to do something different. But at the same time, we had a pretty good game in Game 2. We’ve just got to find ways to get more goals and get to them a little more offensively.
Q. You’ve seen a lot of Lundqvist from your days in New Jersey, what is the key to beating him, or is there a key to beating him?
BRIAN GIONTA: It’s no different than any other goalie in this league. You have to get traffic, and you’ve got to get second and third opportunities. Most goalies in this League are going to stop the first shot. So it’s part of penetrating their “D” and making sure you get quality chances, but you’re also there for the rebound.
Q. When you’re a captain, and a veteran guy like Vanek is struggling, do you need to go talk to the veteran guys like that as much as young guys? How do you see that?
BRIAN GIONTA: It’s part of everybody. The thing with this room is everybody cares, so he wants to be a big part of this team, and he is a big part of this team. So, obviously, the first two games when you lose, things are more amplified than when you are winning. So we have confidence in everybody in this room and the way guys will respond.
Q. No excuses, is that the word for the team?
BRIAN GIONTA: Yeah, for sure. We thought we played a pretty good game in Game 2, but at this time of the year, you need to get wins, so regardless of how it went, we’ve got to find a way to come out with a win in Game 3 and set ourselves up for a match-up in Game 4.
Q. It seems to be tough for Vanek right now, did you have a conversation with him which guys are trying to help and find his game again?
MAX PACIORETTY: He’s a veteran. He doesn’t need that. He’s contributed to this team’s success in the playoffs. He knows it. We all talk. Behind closed doors we’re all having a good team and we all want to help this team win, and we all like where we stand right now with the team. He’s fine. He’s going to be fine. It seems there’s always got to be a story when you lose, and obviously, with the questions I’m being asked, that is the story right now. But he’s a tremendous player and he’s helped us a lot in these playoffs and he’ll continue to do that.
Q. David just repeated the words that are written on the wall, no excuse for tomorrow?
MAX PACIORETTY: We are down two, and we are going on the road. Yeah. Obviously, would have liked to have Game 2, but we can only worry about Game 3. We’ve got to be better Game 3. We have to make life difficult for their goalie, and if we do that, I like team’s our chances.
Q. Do you like MSG?
MAX PACIORETTY: I love MSG. I grew up watching games there. I love going there. I haven’t played in the finished building yet, so this will be fun for me.
Q. Do you think it will be much of a difference? They spent a billion dollars to renovate it, and some people said it doesn’t look like they got a billion dollars’ worth of work done.
MAX PACIORETTY: Yeah, those are the people who don’t know the amount of history in MSG. I’ve grown up seeing not just hockey there but concerts and other things. There is a lot of history in that building, and it’s a lot of fun for me to play there.
Q. On Thomas Vanek practicing with the fourth line, is that a demotion or is that an attempt to balance the lines now?
COACH THERRIEN: Don’t read too much, okay. All right. Today, don’t read too much.
Q. Because they might change tomorrow?
COACH THERRIEN: They might change tomorrow.
Q. I just wrote that, actually.
COACH THERRIEN: Always a step ahead.
Q. What is your scouting report or knowledge of the relationship between Briere and Vanek, if at some point in the series you decide to put the two together?
COACH THERRIEN: You know what, the past is the past, you know? I know they’ve got a good result a few years ago, but it’s a long time ago. So, yes, they’ve built chemistry in the past, but don’t read too much. I know you guys like to read about practicing and lines and all that type of thing, but don’t read too much.
Q. I know you just said that and all, but just in the past you have tended to rely on duos up front and going back to duos that worked again. I’m not reading too much, but based on —
COACH THERRIEN: I think you’re reading too much.
Q. I might be. But today for practice, you decided to put Gio back with Pleks which is something that you used over the course of the year. What is it about that combination that you think works?
COACH THERRIEN: One thing, the Plekanec line needs to give us more. I’m ready to stick sometimes with combination and with three guys working together as long as I see even the results sometimes is not there but the chances are there. But if I see there are no chances, not much happening, so now I’m at a point where I have to make some decisions, and those are the reasons why at times a coach will make decisions regarding lines, because we see — we normally judge with goals and assists. That’s not always the way we do things, but if I see they’ve got chances, if I see I like to stick with it. If I see it’s the opposite, okay, now I’ve got to take some decisions. Hopefully, by making some changes, something’s going to happen.
Q. No matter who Vanek is paired up with, what’s he have to do to get back to being a real impact player in this series?
COACH THERRIEN: Like I said before, we reach the Eastern Conference Finals right now, and we need to be able to do that. The team, we need contributions from everyone.
Q. Tokarski tomorrow?
COACH THERRIEN: Yes.
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