On whether he’d ever seen a similar buzzer-beating faceoff goal in overtime:
Not in overtime. I’ve seen games ended at the buzzer, regulation. It was awesome. It was unbelievable. I thought it was a really good game and an exciting game, and to win a game like that on the road it was back and forth, it was pretty exciting for the guys. But, no, I’ve never seen that, not in a regular season game with 0.9 second on the clock. That’s pretty unusual.
On anything reinforced to Anze Kopitar and the players during the delay prior to the faceoff:
I was trying to get him a rest, number one, because he was exhausted. He played quite a few minutes. Icing call, so they didn’t have a natural centerman on the ice. They checked the clock right away. We asked them to, but I think the league checks it right away to make sure that when the whistle went it was the right amount of time on the clock, and we felt with 0.9, if we won the draw clean, you have an opportunity. So we put two righties in behind Kopi, so wherever the puck sprayed that Drew and Ty would have a chance to get a shot off. I mean, it couldn’t have landed better in between Tyler’s feet there with Tanner inside just looking to box out with the net. It was perfect execution by the guys on the ice.
On the importance of not having Patrice Bergeron or a natural center countering the faceoff:
Bergeron has pretty good success against the entire league. You have Bergeron, Krejci, Backes, those guys are all terrific in the faceoff circle. It makes it tough because you start without the puck a lot, and not only that play, but I thought in overtime, we won a big draw to start with possession of the puck, but I think Bergeron’s a great player, and Bergeron and Marchand are as good a pair as we see in the league, and they make you really work to defend them, so to not have them on the ice was a huge bonus for us.
On placing the improbable ending in context of the team’s 9-1-1 start:
It’s a good learning experience for our hockey team. We come in here and we said to our guys, don’t be surprised if they’re ready for us.’ We’re not going to sneak up on anybody, and I thought the first eight minutes, they really came after us. It was just a good experience of how hard the league is and how hard you have to play. I didn’t think we were as tough on the puck as they were early, but I thought we really dug in and got going after that. It was a good test for our hockey team against a good team that plays really hard, and it was really good to see the response that we had tonight.
On the Pearson-Kempe-Toffoli line’s performance at even strength:
They play a real responsible, 200-foot game. They’ve got a lot of speed and skill on the line, and they can make plays. They can defend and check really fast, but they can attack when they have the puck. It’s interesting, because Jeff was on the line and carried a lot of speed, and we’d just thought we’d put Adrian there because he carries a lot of speed, and those guys make plays and they really complement each other. The line’s been good. I thought they gave us some real quality minutes tonight.
On whether he was nervous when the referees were checking the time:
I wasn’t nervous. It was actually good because it bought us a little time, gave Kopi a rest and just get a plan together there. I think it’s just a formality, to be honest with you. I think they’ve got to look at it. Everything’s on video. The clock tells you where it should be. 0.9’s a lot better than 0.4. It gives you just a little bit of time, obviously, and as luck would have it, we capitalized on it.
On the feeling on the bench when the goal was scored:
I don’t want to get too carried away. It’s a huge win, right? We didn’t win a playoff series or anything. But it’s a big win. This group, I thought, battled hard. We told ‘em sometimes it might take ‘til the last minute of a hockey game. We didn’t think it would be literally the last second, but I just think it’s a good learning experience of how hard the league is, and any time you win is big for the group and anytime you win on the road is big for the group.
On Oscar Fantenberg’s nagging injury (learned to be back spasms):
It was something that came up this morning, quite honestly. It was a little bit of a surprise, and he actually did extra work. Folin came in ready to go and did a great job for us. [Reporter: Day-to-day, would you say?] It’s nothing that’s serious. It’s just something that’s maintenance-related.
-Lead photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images