After practice on Monday, Sheldon discussed how the mood and mentality of his team after losing Game 4 in Tampa Bay and the benefits of going home in Game 5.
How is the mood of the group a day after losing the fourth game?
qualitative: The mood is great. Men are excited.
Did you get a chance to see the movie and decide what to work on from last night?
qualitative: Certainly there. It is in every game. Sure, last night, there were things that we know we can do better in different locations. We have now come to a point in the series where both teams know what to expect. It’s about getting out and doing.
Was there an emphasis on comfort with some of the flights that take place here?
qualitative: certainly. A day like today is very much a healing day. We arrived very late last night. Again, you’re now at a point in the series where you’ve captured a lot of guys.
Healing day is important. Every game is now extremely important and will require more focus, energy, and all these kinds of things.
How important is the recent change in matches?
qualitative: I think it is definitely important. There are some things that will definitely help us. Now, the depth they have in defense and forward mitigates some of that because they have their depth streaks – or their second, third and fourth streaks – that gave them really good minutes and were useful to us at different times in the series.
When they’re on the road, they tend to move D a lot. These kinds of things come into play. The most important thing for us is to be on the ice at home and come home tomorrow. We’d be excited to play a big game of hockey, obviously a game where we need a good response.
How do you get to a point where special teams are less important in the game?
qualitative: Special teams will always be an important factor. In our games in this series – and it seems across the league – there was a lot of strength training and penalty kicks. Even if it wasn’t there, each one became more important to take advantage of, whether that was getting a kill or scoring.
Last night, we took some penalties that we didn’t like. For the most part, most of them came when the score was 4-0 and pretty much got out of hand. It is important that you do what you can. You have to adapt to the power.
We know exactly what to expect at this point in terms of how to name things. We just have to continue not to give them reasons to sanction us.
How do you make sure that the magnitude of this moment, knowing what has happened in the past, does not affect this opportunity before you tomorrow?
qualitative: I think it’s simply a matter of focusing on what we can control, which is to be excited about the opportunity to compete tomorrow. This is the vibe I get from our team. For me, whatever you lose last night, you lose the match. In the playoffs, you have to wash that down and get ready for the next stage.
We responded well when we lost previously. We lost really hard on the ice at home and got out on the road in what you could tell a big game at the time. You need a response. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation of losing two on the road when you’ve already lost one on the snow at home.
That was a big win for us at an important time. You enter the game, and you want to rise to the occasion. Suddenly, before you know it, you’re 3-0 up, feeling good about what you did there.
I think there is enough for our team – with a focus on this season at the moment – to have a tremendous amount of faith in our team. Most importantly, they are excited to have the opportunity to compete against a very good and tough opponent. We think our men will respond tomorrow.
You are talking about positivity in the future. Where does this come from now?
qualitative: We’ve been a really good team all year. Anytime we’ve faced a challenge, whether it’s in the regular season or even in the playoff series, we’ve responded very well.
This same series and the opponent itself was a challenge to come. We had a massive 1 game and proved ourselves in the series. Along the way, our team responded well. Because of that, we have great faith.
It doesn’t change the opponent and the challenge ahead, but we certainly weren’t upset with last night. We believe in our group and are excited to play the rest of the series here starting tomorrow.
The phrase “start on time” gets thrown around all the time. As the series continues, the team that scores first doesn’t seem to lose. Would you confirm that more knowing it?
qualitative: I don’t know if we can emphasize that more than we have with the four games now. It is clearly important. At the same time, you want to stay focused.
It’s something for us to go down 1-0. It’s another thing to let it pile up on the ice. You can come back from 1-0. Neither team has been able to do so at this point. I don’t know what you can attribute to him.
I would say it’s a little anomaly, but if you look around the league it seems like that’s how a lot of the games went in terms of how they bounce back and forth. It’s been a funny year in this way in terms of scoring goals.
Just focusing on tomorrow for us, of course we want to get off to a great start and build from there. Regardless, no matter what is going on in the game, we have to keep our focus and not turn into a distracting shift.
Have you made up your mind about any squad changes for tomorrow?
qualitative: I haven’t made any decisions here about the lineup. We have some time today and tomorrow. We will use that and make our own decisions next.
The way the series was called, does it make it difficult to go back to Wayne Simmonds and/or Kyle Clifford in the fourth line?
qualitative: I don’t think it’s necessarily the way it was named. I know Simmer did run into some penalties there a bit, but overall, the physique was not called out. It’s the hooks, the flights, the high sticks, the chops — those kinds of things — that are called out at this point.
I don’t think this comes into effect. We have to make some decisions based on what we think is the best group to help us win the game.
How does Rasmus Sanden progress? Is it close to being an option?
qualitative: it’s close. I would say he is in good health. It is available at this point. His workload in practice and those kinds of things are clearly not up to the level required to join this chain. But it is certainly an option for us should we need more depth.