Gonchar on Wings: ‘You can play against their system and win'

Down 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals, Sergei Gonchar of the Pittsburgh Penguins still sounded upbeat about his team's chances following their Game 2 loss Sunday night.

The Penguins defenseman, as well as star center Evgeni Malkin (briefly), spoke with Dmitry Malinovsky of Sovetsky Sport in Detroit about the series. The following is translated from those interviews. First up, Gonchar on trying to beat the Red Wings and Chris Osgood being "human."

Q. Sergei, can you compare tonight's game with last night's?

GONCHAR: In my opinion we did not play bad. Look at the statistics in the regular season and the playoffs. What other team managed to outshoot the Red Wings in a game? We did it yesterday and today. We constantly created scoring chances. It is a different matter that we did not convert. But this is Detroit. You also need luck in addition to playing well against them.

What in your opinion is the main reason for the loss? Just no luck? Or you couldn't cope with the system Detroit was playing?

Not really, you can play against their system and win. The most important is to finish your chances with goals. It's not enough just to create opportunities. But I will repeat myself, today they had a little bit more luck than us.

Can you comment on Evgeni Malkin's actions at the end of tonight's game?

Zhenya [Malkin] does not like to lose. Probably he was overwhelmed with emotions and let them run free.

You had only 21 hours to recover. Was it enough?

I will tell you honestly, there was no time to think about it. This is the final, emotions are driving you forward. That's why you come out and play like you're on a [cruise control]. And it's not just with us. Our opponent had the same amount of time to recover as well.

Are you surprised that in the last two games there were only five penalties called: Detroit had three and you had two? Officials are just letting you play?

Not really, that's not it. Look at the statistics of this playoff. The Red Wings don't really take penalties. There are in the last place in penalty minutes. I think we're next. When we started this series everyone understood that there wouldn't be a lot of penalties.

Do you think you can win this series?

We have a good chance to do it. If you look at the stats, not a lot of teams managed to outshoot Detroit. We have to keep playing our game and convert on our chances.

Where do you get your optimism? You're down 2-0 in the series against the defending Stanley Cup champion.

You're right, we don't have a 100 percent chance. But still, remember our series against Washington. We came home 2-0 down and still managed to win it.

What is your impression of Osgood?

He is a great goalie. Look at him play! He is a fan favorite. But he is still a human. That's why we have to keep playing our game. He will then start to make mistakes. We have to use them and score.

What about Fleury? Is he upset about the loss?

I wouldn't put the question like this. When called upon he bailed us out when needed, but we didn't do the same for him.

How difficult is it to think beyond the next game?  Detroit has to win two, while you have to win four.

When we started this series no one said it would be easy. Let's live for the next game. We have to win them all. One by one."

How important is it not to give in to emotions?

I don't think it is a threat for us. A lot of us in the team went through the same last year. Of course, we are people and we want everything at once. But at the same time we understand that it doesn't happen this way. We have to work hard and the success will come.

• • •

And now, two quick questions with Malkin.

Q. Before one of the face-offs in the first period we actively exchanged words with Holmstrom. What was that about?  Did you cheer on each other that way?

MALKIN: Not really, it was just a game moment. Everyone does it during the game, and Holmstrom and I are not an exception.

Tell us what happened at the end of the game? Emotions went overboard?

Yes, you're right. I let my emotions run free. We were unable to end our chances with goals while we played a good game. So I just let off some steam like that.

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