John Tortorella addressed the media after his team’s Game 5 win over the Maple Leafs to advance to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals versus Tampa Bay.
On the team finding a way to make the first round despite a crazy year of injuries and offseason losses:
It is a great group that we don’t do it the easy way. As I said earlier today, we just try to go out and play. I am proud of them. I thought Korpi was outstanding. He made some key saves at key times for us. But it is a good group of men trying to find their way.
On his goaltending tandem:
We are not in the bubble if we don’t have those two guys. We were all nervous as the season started and we had some departures — Bob left, and all of that stuff. We were nervous about what our goaltending was going to be. We don’t have a sniff being here if it is not for those two guys.
On his team bouncing back from a tough collapse in Game 4:
You’ve got to remember, in Game 4, we played a good hockey game. I think in the third period prior to our little bit of a meltdown there, we held them to two scoring chances. We’re confident in the way we are playing. We didn’t want that to happen. Shit happens, I guess.
Right from the get-go, as we started preparing for this game, we knew how we were playing. We just wanted to try to get back to our game as quickly as possible when we started Game 5.
On the team’s defensive performance throughout the series:
We have to get better. I think in stretches we play really well. As you keep moving on, the hockey gets more into a grind. We are playing Tampa — a very good hockey club with a lot of weapons. We are going to have to get better at a lot of things. We have to make some more plays. We’ve got to have our forecheck better.
As you move along here and teams are getting knocked out, the games are going to be better. We have to join in.
On getting the team mentally ready for the game tonight:
We immediately discussed that it is a great opportunity. I think the mental part of the game is the most important part of the game right now — not the Xs and Os. It is something we are always coaching, always talking about. The group is talking about it. This was a good test for us.
It was a tough night after Game 4 for everybody, but we got together, talked about it, and just talked about the great opportunity we have in front of us here to step up and see if we can get this figured out in an adverse situation.
On Liam Foudy’s performances in the series:
He has got balls. That is what it is. That kid wasn’t afraid to hold onto the puck. He is probably one of the most free offensive players right now out of our group. He is willing to be in traffic. He is willing to make plays through traffic. I watch him out on the power play and on the blue line. I am not crazy about where he was at certain times, but it certainly shows he is not afraid of the stage here.
A little bit of a different stage without the crowd — I get that — but this is important stuff that we are going through here. I think he is handling himself really well. It bodes really well for the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
On the performance of the Boone Jenner line in the series:
It was an important line for us. We had it up against Matthews or tried to get it up against Matthews as much as we could. They chipped in a lot of forechecking. When you are in the playoffs here, it is changing momentum when you can. That is a line that can do that for us as far as taking some heat off of our D and doing the little things along the wall to keep puck possession.
Jenns is ugly at times, but I don’t think I have seen a more competitive player in these types of situations. He was a big part of it in this series.