New Jersey Devils Coach Peter DeBoer faced the media on Wednesday night to discuss the Game 1 loss to the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. Below are highlights from the transcript (provided by the NHL) of the news conference.
Q. When you fell behind in past series, did you make tangible changes that made a difference? Can you do that now?
DeBOER: We didn’t make tangible changes. We fixed what we felt went wrong. I think when I look back at our playoff trail, you know, one of the areas that’s cropped up in every round is we’ve been a little tentative in the first game, you know, kind of felt our way, and then jumped in with both feet in Game 2. I think that’s hopefully what we’ll do here again.
Q. Before the series started, you said the Kings looked good on film, but you’re going to learn a lot more about them after Game 1. What did you find out?
DeBOER: Yeah, they’re a good team. You know, they played a good road game. They came out, they press you. They don’t give you a lot of time and space. They’re big. They’re fast. They’ve got a good goalie. The scouting report we had on them was exactly what we saw.
Q. What do you think was keeping you from getting your forecheck established more consistently? Was it not good dump-ins, them holding you up a little bit, their goalie?
DeBOER: All of the above. You know, you want a nice boxed answer on how to fix it. It’s not that easy. The game starts in your own end breaking out clean, getting through the neutral zone with speed, putting the puck in the right place, running good forecheck routes, keeping pucks alive with pinches. There’s no clean answer to it. We’ve got to be a little sharper in all our areas.
Q. Why is it this time of year, teams in this position tend to have defensemen, they’re not necessarily stars, but they’re so important, [Bryce] Salvador, Willie Mitchell maybe, guys which were not very heralded coming into the league, but playing 25 minutes a night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
DeBOER: You can’t have enough defensemen this time of year. You see the games. There’s a lot of chess-match hockey out there. When you get to this point in the playoffs, the conference finals, the Stanley Cup Final, the teams that get here, you know, aren’t just talented, they’re very good technically. Their systems are right on. There’s not a lot of room. There’s no room for mistakes. That’s why you need defensemen that make good reads, make the right decisions. You know, Sal has done a great job for us on that.
Q. After the game, it seemed that some of the commentators were talking about the condition of the ice. Was it any worse than normal or is it the same for both teams and you play on it?
DeBOER: It’s the same for both teams. The ice conditions this time of year, regardless of where you’re playing, aren’t going to be great. It’s something you have to deal with.
Q. Your thoughts on the way Ilya Kovalchuk and Drew Doughty went at it? Was Doughty that good last game or was Kovalchuk part of the team that struggled along trying to create some offense?
DeBOER: A little bit of both.
Q. Do you need to do more to get him away from Doughty?
DeBOER: No. Doughty is going to play as much as he has to play. There’s no getting away from that. We can’t focus on that. This time of year, you’ve got to play head-to-head against good players and you’ve got to win those battles. That’s the bottom line.
Q. The Kings are perfect on the road. From what you saw, what makes them a tough team to play on the road?
DeBOER: I mean, pretty simple formula: they play hard, they get good goaltending. I don’t know. You know, we had a chance to win that game last night. We’ll just try again on Saturday.