February 3 postgame quotes: John Stevens

On whether this was the type of bounce-back performance he was looking for:
For sure. I thought we really haven’t taken care of business at home this year. Coming off a bad loss on the road there I think it was really important that we bounced back today and played the game the right way. To me, Arizona, they come at you hard. They’ve got a talented team, and you have to be ready to play. So, certainly it was the response we were hoping for from the group.

On what impressed him in the win:
Just our overall intention to play the game the right way, to be totally honest with you. I know it’s cliché, but there was an intention to get pucks in deep. There was good pursuit after the puck. We turned pucks over and created opportunities from it, and I really thought our leadership led the way. I thought Kopi was terrific and his whole line was good. He led the way. I thought Brownie was terrific and his line, we got contributions. I thought our defense had a big bounce-back game. Our whole team had a tough night in Nashville, and I thought our D did a good job of holding gaps and using their feet to make plays. Darcy was sound in the net again. It was a good, solid team effort that we were hoping for.

On the fundamentals of strong forechecking that lead to effective performances like Saturday’s:
I just think it starts with the decisions early. I think we use the term ‘you’ve got to be predictable to yourselves,’ and I think we get ourselves in trouble when we’re not predictable to each other and it looks like the puck is going to go in or should go in and doesn’t. It makes you slow, it makes you hesitant, and you usually end up chasing the puck. But I just thought the decision process was really good tonight, so we were predictable to ourselves. Arizona plays a fast game. The one thing they do really well is when they get possession, they get speed leaving the zone in a hurry, and they get pucks up to speed and they’re dangerous. I thought we did a pretty good job overall of not allowing that to generate, but again, I dial it back to the decision process to start the whole thing in motion.

On showing a “killer instinct” even when the team was ahead 4-0 to begin the third period:
Well, ‘didn’t let up’ – I thought we had a tough start to the period there- [Reporter: The goal was disallowed, though.] Yeah, and credit to our guys in the back. We really have to trust Samson that he’s looking at that. The view I saw, I wasn’t sure, and he was adamant that we should challenge it, and I trusted him on that. We’ve talked as a staff, he needs to be paying attention there, and it’s critical, right? The goal’s allowed, then we go on the penalty kill, that rule change has really made you think about it, but he was adamant that we should challenge it, and it was the right call, so he deserved credit for that.

On whether the balance of starts between Jonathan Quick and Darcy Kuemper remains set:
Well, no, we don’t have a script. We’re going to evaluate our team. The funny thing about a goalie is that there’s only two of them, so when one guy plays and one guy doesn’t play, then it seems to be amplified because it’s like a quarterback, right? ‘Well, how come he’s playing?’ But there’s positions on our team, and I think our goalies have both played well for most of the year, and Darcy is right. Darcy is seeing the puck right now. The puck’s hitting him. He’s probably played as well as he’s ever played, and he’s really come in and played sound for us. With a couple days in between, you don’t often get that, we’ll enjoy the win. But there’s no question we’re going to need both our goalies to win hockey games as we move along here.

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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