November 25 postgame quotes: John Stevens

On what the team did well in an emotional game:
I thought they dug in. It’s a hard game. Anaheim plays a hard game. I think they’re a very good checking team. They make you compete on pucks. The dot-to-board game and the game below the goal lines is usually where it’s won and lost. I thought our guys did a good job digging in in those areas, and that’s all three zones. I don’t think there was any easy ice out there. There wasn’t last game, and there certainly wasn’t tonight.

On whether he saw the team make strides in shots and chances against this week:
Yeah, I think so. I think, quite honestly, for us as coaches and I think for our team, that’s a process that never goes away. I think we know that if we’re better without the puck, we have it more. If we can hold lines better, get plays killed in their own zone, we have it more, so I thought the team played hard in that regard. I think that’s an area that we’re going to continue to focus on getting better at, just like other parts of our game. But you’ve got to limit the opportunities … whether that’s power plays or even strength, if you want to give yourself a chance to win hockey games.

On whether he had a sense that the team was “losing faith” while in a slump:
I don’t sense they were losing any faith, I sense a lot of frustration in the group. Confidence is a funny thing. Everyone wants to talk about confidence. When we were winning we had all kinds of it, and then I would call it more ‘spirit.’ I think when you have success and the group has success, it really brings a lot of spirit to the group. When it doesn’t, the game’s not much fun. I wouldn’t use the word ‘faith’ at all. I think this group, we’ve talked to the captains all along. I think they’ve been totally dialed in to what we’re trying to get done here, but I do think games like this give you a real understanding of how hard it is, how hard every night it is to win hockey games, and just the fact that we can’t have any passengers in order to win hockey games. The league’s too good.

-Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI

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