On what sweeping the home-and-home set means for the team “mentally”:
It’s a big two-game set for us. We’re trying to get our foot back in the playoff door, and we knew these were going to be big games against a really tough opponent. To come in and get back-to-back four points was really good for us, and I thought it was a great couple games of commitment from our hockey team. I thought our leadership was outstanding, I thought they were our best players in both games, and I thought we got contributions from everybody. We talked to the team before the game. We want to get into the playoffs, but we want our team game to continue to get better. It’s about playing better this time of the year, and getting better every night, and it was good to see we did that.
On what the team did well in its own zone:
I’ll be honest with you, I thought we got in a stretch in the second period where we tried to make too many flat plays, and they’ve got a really fast transition game. I thought the third period we did a much better job of getting over top of them. But, in our own zone, they create. They’re going to spend time in the zone, they’re really good at trying to spin out of coverage, and I thought we did a good job of keeping them to the outside. I thought we did a good job of pursuing and identifying coverage, and we did a good job of getting in the shot lanes. They’re a good offensive team for a reason. They score three and a half goals a game. You can see why when you play against them.
On whether he can appreciate Jack Campbell’s path to his first career win, or whether it gets obscured by the tension of a late-season playoff push:
No, I think we always do. I mean, there are lots of guys. I thought Kyle Clifford had an outstanding two-game series here. I thought he really tilted the ice for us in a lot of ways, and to see a kid like Jack Campbell, I remember the day when he came here and Billy met with him. His game was not in very good shape. He had been in the East Coast league, and all he wanted to do was work and get better. Terrific year in the minors, and really became a leader down there, and coming into this game’s a tough spot. It’s as tough a spot as there is, probably to come in as your first game, but we told him he’s 1-0 in this building because he was the guy that played here and we won the preseason game. So, a little different scenario here, but it’s a tough building to play in, and I thought Jack was really solid tonight, and I couldn’t be happier for the kid.
-Lead photo via Jeff Bottari/NHLI