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Coach's quotes Feb. 18

Lemaire postgame comments from 1-0 win over Rangers

Friday, 02.18.2011 / 11:35 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Coach\'s quotes Feb. 18
Jacques Lemaire had a lot to like after Friday's 1-0 blanking of the Rangers. His team didn't gain ground in the playoff race because of Carolina's win over Philadelphia, but they stayed hot entering their third meeting in 12 days with the eighth-place Hurricanes.

Lemaire on the key to the victory:
"Well, I think we played really well defensively. We had our chances offensively. I am very pleased with our goaltending. I thought [Johan Hedberg] made good saves at the right moment. He helped keep the lead for us. I think the guys were very good with the puck. There's only a couple shifts here and there through the game where we didn't look organized, but overall we played a very, very solid game."

On the return of Anton Volchenkov from a three-game suspension:
"You look at all the plays he made in the defensive zone, just to bring the puck out, make the right play, be solid around the net, solid on the boards. He's cutting down the mistakes and that's why he's playing hard."

On whether this was the team's best defensive effort since he came back behind the bench:
"One of the best, definitely. I think it's the overall team that played well tonight, because [the Rangers] played well. I thought they played well. Maybe the lack of energy because [the Rangers played] last night, at different times. But they played well. They tried hard. As soon as we slowed down or didn't do what we were supposed to do, you could see they were coming."

On what has changed in Kovalchuk's game:
"Maybe it’s the confidence that he has, that guides him in a way that he works hard. He’s got the tools. So he works hard, he’s got the tools, what do you think the result is?"

On the team's confidence levels:
"The team has good confidence. You could see by plays were making. Guys, they don’t panic. Last year compared to this year, it’s pretty much the same group, but I know at certain times last year we panicked, and I don’t see this now. It’s the players that take charge, just the way they’re talking on the bench. I feel they know what to do."

On the key to keeping up pressure in the Rangers zone:
"I think it's skating. Skating and puck control. This is a great team [the Rangers] for turnovers. They've got four good lines that can make plays and score. You turn the puck over, you're in trouble. This is the one thing I ask, number one: I don't want turnovers. You have to manage to do whatever it takes with the puck, so you don't turn the puck over."

Too early to talk playoffs?
"Look at the standings."