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Stars-Penguins Postgame Quotes

Here are some postgame quotes following Friday’s Dallas Stars-Pittsburgh Penguins game which the Stars won 4-3 in a shootout. These quotes are provided by Dallas Stars PR.

Stars Head Coach Ken Hitchcock

On the play of the Stars goalies and the Stars’ effort:

“I think they’re, quite frankly, one of the big stories of the team. They’re two competitive guys and they’re helping us get points. That’s what you need this time of year. Your goalie is going to have to be your best player on the road and he’s going to have to win games for you if you expect to be a playoff team. Today wasn’t a clean game but it was a gutsy effort Down 2-0 that early and have to battle back. Our first goal gave us a lot of wind and then I thought we battled. We really battled in the second period. We got some momentum back and then really battled hard to create some scoring chances in the third.”

On the Stars’ number one line:

“It’s not so much seizing the moment with your top players but at this time of year you look at the teams that are doing well and perineal playoff teams, their best players are their best players. They play the best, they drag the team along, the fight through difficult and adverse situations and for us to grow that’s what’s got to be met head-on. Those guys have got to move up to the next level and I like the step they made today.”

On the Stars’ defensive play against Pittsburgh:

“(Radek) Faksa did a job. That line has done a job for two months now. Radek did a heck of a job and that was a big load for that line. Most of the shifts you’re not going to have the puck. You’re going to have to check and you’re going to have to be really determined and play through big bodies. I think the thing that surprised you in the game is how good a player (Phil) Kessel is. You think he’s just a scorer but he’s got way more game than that. He makes it doubly difficult because you can’t focus just on (Evgeni) Malkin because if Kessel ends up with the puck, it’s usually a good play. I think all of us were surprised by how much of an overall game Phil has. It’s really, really strong.”

On the Stars gaining confidence:

“I think the confidence comes from our competitiveness. We’re competing at a high level and every night we give ourselves the chance to win. These are two hungry hockey clubs that we just beat. We got home at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning and won a hockey game at home against a rested team. That’s big, it’s huge for us. We can grow from here. We need to rest up but these are lessons, along the way, that we needed to learn. I felt today whatever happened we were going to learn some valuable lessons. We learned about ourselves today and we learned a lot about how deep we can dig.  We dug deep tonight to get two points.”

Stars Defenseman John Klingberg
On the comeback win:

“Tough way to start a game but we showed character by coming back in this game. Obviously Lehts really stepped up and made key saves all game. It was a tough night with the energy, coming in late [from Chicago] yesterday, but we still got two points.”

On the team’s character:

“We’ve come a long way from the start of the season. I feel like Jamie, Rads, Spezza and a lot of other guys are talking more in here. More guys are talking in the locker room and we have a lot of confidence in how we’re playing. We’re staying in the system and playing our game, so the confidence is high right now for sure.”

On bottling up three of the hottest players:

“That’s huge. Players like that are still going to get their chances, but I feel like we closed them off pretty good.”

Stars Goaltender Kari Lehtonen

On responding after going down 2-0 early in the first period:

“We just got back to the basics and play our simple game, and not try to play their fancy, offensive game. I think that worked and calmed our game down. We kept digging in and when you get rewarded, too, with those couple of goals, that’s good for this group just to know that next time, when we are searching for something, that’s where it’s at.”

On facing the Penguins big three in shootout:

“I tried to use the first period goal, the Hagelin goal, as a reminder. I’m sure they were looking at that too and thinking of shooting and that’s the way to score. So I decided to stay out and be more patient rather than have a lot of flow backwards, like what I usually do. So I kind of changed what I was doing so that helped trick those guys a little bit. But still, I wasn’t that close to Crosby’s shot. Luckily he missed the net.”

On getting another start on home ice:

“I was excited. Of course it was a tough, unusual last 24 hours for us. Getting stuck in all that snow in Chicago. I tried to make this feel like a day game – I didn’t come to rink, and just kind put your gear on and go have fun with your buddies. It was good after the rough start that it worked out.”

Stars Forward Alexander Radulov
On the win:

“It’s huge. It’s huge for our locker room, for everybody – the fans. But, we finally had a chance to come back and win one of these games when we were down, and no one gave up. We all tried to play the system, play the right way. We had that bounce in the first that was not on our side, but that means we have a good team. We have to just believe in each other. Sometimes you score and everything is clicking perfectly and games like tonight you have to battle back, and we did and we’re really proud of that. We’re going to enjoy that for a little bit today, but we’ve got another tough game on Sunday. We got those two points and we needed those, but we need to stay sharp and focus.”

On the play of the goaltenders:

“They’ve been there for us the whole season. We feel that we have to keep working for them because they’re there for us. Just battle. Battle through it. It’s 2-0 and then we get on back, and then Kari in the second period made those huge stops to keep us in the game. We battled and we won and that’s good.”

Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan

On fighting back in the third:

“Obviously we were disappointed that we gave up two early in the third there, but I like the fight. We stayed with it and got the game tied. It was a hard-fought game and a good team. It was one of those games that had a playoff-type feel to it; there wasn’t a lot of ice out there.”

On the team’s defensive play:

“I thought with the two quick goals that they got, we lost a couple of footraces to pucks. We had guys in the lanes on shots from the blueline and they just found their way to the back of the net. Sometimes that’s hockey; that happens. I thought our intent was in the right place. I also thought we had an opportunity to change on one of them and we didn’t, and we should have. If we did we would’ve had fresh guys on the ice, and I think that would’ve helped a lot.”

On special teams’ recent struggles:

“[Hornqvist]’s a big part of it, there’s no question. I liked the power play tonight. They had some pretty good looks they just didn’t score. The last couple of games I didn’t think our execution has been as good, especially on the entries – on the breakouts. We haven’t been as sharp on the entries, so as a result, we spend less time in the zone. I always preach to our guys, with our power play, zone time is an important statistic for us. Because if they have that zone time, they’re going to find plays. They’re a talented group.”

Penguins Goaltender Matt Murray

On having been so successful with a lead after two periods:

“We’re usually a pretty good third period team. It’s unfortunate that happened. It’s unfortunate a game like that has to go to a shootout, but we played really well tonight. It’s a good point moving forward.”

On Dallas’ third goal when he lost his stick:

“You practice playing without your stick. I don’t feel like I need a defensemen’s stick, I think they’re probably better off having it. There was just a bit of a weak screen on that one and I was just late picking it up. The guy got a pretty good shot too. Not sure who it was, but he leaned into it pretty hard. By the time I picked it up, it was already too late. We’ll want that one back for sure, but I like how we battled back and got the point.”

Penguins Defenseman Ian Cole

On running out of time to get a point:

“Yeah, no without a doubt. So obviously we don’t want to give up leads. But, you know games change. Flow of the game changes. They scored some goals and we responded pretty well.”

On being 17 and 0 in the league after two periods:

“No, I didn’t know that. 17 and 1 I guess. Obviously, like I said, we like to finish the games out especially when we have leads. Good teams finish games out like that. You know something we can be better at. There were some games we were winning 5-1 and we’ve let teams back into it, made it a little too entertaining. Something we can do better.”

On struggling on the road:

“I think obviously we are very comfortable at home and we really like our fans. Got a great energy at home. So, don’t have that. But, we’re so well taken care of at home or on the road. There’s really no excuse as to why things aren’t clicking on the road. You know it’s tough. There’s a lot of energy for the home team, but we need to battle through that and use it in our favor.”

Penguins Defenseman Justin Schultz

On how the team looks at getting a point tonight:

“It’s a good team over there, they’re going to fight back, and they were able to get a couple goals in the third. Would’ve liked to be a little more tight defensively. But, it happens, and we got that tying goal which is huge for us. We’ll take the point, we would’ve liked two, but any point is now is big.”

On the powerplay slumping recently:

“We’re on a little bit of a slump right now on the powerplay. The last five or so games, I think. I thought we had some good looks on the first one. We didn’t have one after that, so couldn’t really get in a rhythm. It was a good six on five [in] the powerplay, so hopefully that gives us some confidence.”

On road struggles:

“Yeah you want two points, but like I said before, every point now is huge in the race. We’ll take it, move on, learn from it, and be ready for the next game. The guys in this room have won a lot of games the last two years on the road, so we know what to do. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”