It’s do or die for the Nashville Predators tonight after they lost 6-0 in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to give the Pittsburgh Penguinsa 3-2 series lead. The Preds are looking for redemption and to keep the Pens from winning back to back Stanley Cup Championships. Head Coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media prior to puck drop:
Q. Coach, obviously we all know what’s at stake tonight, but do you want your guys to treat this like another game? Is that even possible?
PETER LAVIOLETTE: They’re all big games. We’ve been in this situation before. Our guys know what’s at stake. They know where this series is at. They know what we have to do tonight, and I think our guys will be ready for that.
Q. Big game ahead; what kind of structure do you want to see from your own game, and what are the key points for your team?
PETER LAVIOLETTE: Well, we’ve got to do a better job defensively than what we did. Like I said, Game 5, if you go back through the entire Playoffs, we hadn’t really had a bad game. There might have been a game that we won that we weren’t on top of our game, we ended up winning the game. But as far as losses go, we’ve been competitive in every game. We need to do a better job not only structurally but with speed and competitiveness in tonight’s game to be successful. We weren’t very good in Game 5. I wouldn’t say that that’s how we’ve been in the Playoffs or resembles who we are and how we’ve played, but it happened, and we need to be better than that
Q. You guys have talked a lot about pride throughout this Playoffs, pride of getting to where you are right now, pride after two of your top guys went down. How much does pride play a factor in tonight’s game to not let them win a Cup on your ice?
PETER LAVIOLETTE: Well, we don’t talk about that. We don’t talk about them winning. So certainly we — our guys have confidence in the way that we play the game, and we have confidence in the fact that we’re in our building. We’ve had good success here, I think, for a good stretch of time. The majority of the games that we’ve played, we’ve played really well. We do talk about us winning the Cup. We do talk about us winning Game 6. We do talk about us playing again tomorrow, moving on and playing and waking up and being alive tomorrow. So those are the things we talk about.But we haven’t worded it like that. Certainly the guys do have pride. They wouldn’t be here at this point if they don’t, and they’ve fought hard to get to this point, through adversity, and yet they still maintain a level of confidence and belief that we can beat anybody on any given day, and today is no different.
Q. During the season when you had injuries or when Irwin was able to step up and play kind of a top-four role, if he needs to do that tonight, how much confidence do you have in him because of that?
PETER LAVIOLETTE: Who to do that?
PETER LAVIOLETTE: Matt has been terrific. He’s moved around the lineup. Back when we were coming off of November and we went into December and half of January there, we had different defensemen going out for different reasons, and Matt was excellent at moving up. He’s a guy — he’s a big, strong player, whether he was playing with Ekholm or whether he was playing with Josi or whether he was playing with Ellis, he did a really good job moving up the lineup.