March 1, 2013 4:45 pm

March 1 practice quotes: Justin Williams

On the team winning without playing its best:
“When you go on runs, and say you win six, seven in a row, it’s not because you’re on top of your game six, seven times in a row. It’s because you’re able to win the games that you weren’t feeling great in that the other team was doing something that you weren’t prepared for, that you weren’t emotionally invested in the game to start. Whatever it was, you come through and win a game – or two – that you weren’t playing your best in. That’s certainly was what it was. They outplayed us for 40 minutes. We were able to come through with two big goals in the third period. That’s how streaks keep going. I don’t think Chicago’s led every single game that they’ve had this year. They’ve come back. They haven’t played great every single game. I know that. But guys have stepped up and played roles and come through in the clutch, and Bernier kept us in it long enough that we could score.”

On given Vancouver’s recent play, the lapse in their schedule, and the general rivalry, whether the performance in the first 10 minutes of the game will be more important than usual:
“I wouldn’t think so. I just think we’ve developed quite a rivalry playing them two out of the last three years in the playoffs. We don’t like them. They don’t like us. It’s certainly no secret. We were able to win one early this year…and we want to keep our streak going, and they want to I think maybe get on track. They’ve had some time off to think about it, prepare for us, but the first 10 minutes in the opponents’ building is always important, especially when you’re playing in Canada.”

On whether the team is hitting its stride:
“I said earlier we’re trending in the right direction. You’re not going to say you’re ‘on top of your game’ on Game 19 or whatever we’re at right now. We’re certainly not at the top of our game. I wouldn’t say that. But we’re nuilding our way towards that, and good teams find ways to win games that sometimes lesser teams won’t. We’ve been able to do that through big performances by individual guys.”

On the team and players still looking for a “perfect game”:
“I don’t know. Seasons are so full of ups and downs. Everyone was at the start of the year saying when we were struggling…’are you guys a fluke?’ The ups and downs of a hockey season are what makes it a hockey season. You’re not going to be on your best all the time. You’re going to go through stretches where you win five, six in a row, and you’re going to go through stretches where you’re not playing your greatest, and it seems like the puck is hard to go in. Right now, we’re clicking. We’re winning games through scoring goals, and we’re winning games through great defense. But we’re trending in the right direction.”

On whether challenges are magnified in a compacted schedule:
“Absolutely. Little stretches of two, three games in a row where you’re not on your game – those three in a row, it’s devastating in the standings, and you can see it every night. You win a game, you’re in the playoffs, and you lose a game and you’re out. That’s just the way it is, and that’s the way it’s going to be through the 48-game season.”

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