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'Feeling confident and having fun': Knoblauch on Game 4 win, going on the road again and Kane's status

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch watches the play during the first period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup final in against the Florida Panthers Edmonton, Saturday, June 15, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch watches the play during the first period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup final in against the Florida Panthers Edmonton, Saturday, June 15, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch talked to reporters Sunday morning after his team's impressive 8-1 win over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 at Rogers Place Saturday night.

The Panthers lead the Stanley Cup Final 3-1 as the series shifts back to South Florida Tuesday night.

Here's what Knoblauch said on Sunday.

Question: Before the game you talked about the fact that you're probably going to need some 'puck luck' if you're to turn this thing around and hopefully win a game. And I think you got that and then some in yesterday's game, even with the first goal when the Panthers hit the post twice in one second and it comes down the ice and Janmark scores. My question is, I guess how do you reconcile the fact that in addition to doing everything right and doing all this tremendous work in preparing and getting ready physically, mentally, there's also this one magic component that you have no control over but you need it to happen every single time going forward.

Knoblauch: There's been times when we played near-perfect games, as good as Game 1, I thought that was a pretty good effort by our guys. And even when you do that, things don't work out the way you feel it should. And all we can control is how we play. We can't control the calls the referee makes or how the goalie on the other side plays or how the team does or the opposition does. So we just have to control what we can control. We're going to try and play our best hockey that we can and hopefully that's enough to win us three more games.

Question: Last night Paul Maurice said he does not believe in momentum. I'm curious if you do, and if so, how much do you guys feel you have going into Game 5?

Knoblauch: I believe in momentum and that it lasts about shift to shift. Other than that from game to game, period to period, I don't think that it does. I think our team, obviously after a game like that they feel good about themselves. They're feeling confident. But I think even when we were down three games to zero, our team felt confident about how they can play so I think it's important during the game that say line one has a strong shift, spends a lot of time in the offensive zone, I think I believe in that momentum. It helps build lines two or three after them just able to sustain that pressure. But things change very quickly.

Question: What's the perfect road game or what do you need out of this particular road game to keep this going?

Knoblauch: I think we've been able to win multiple ways. I can't say that we need our top guys to perform and come up big. We've won our share games when our top guys have come and been our best players. But we've won games where our depth guys have come up and contributed and scored a key goal, or we've relied on our goaltender. We won a 1-0 game in the LA series. And we've had our penalty kill to win some games. Our power plays come up huge where we've scored three goals in a game so I don't think that we have a set recipe for this as what we need to accomplish if we're going to win Game 5. We feel no matter how the game goes we can adjust. We can play a physical game, we can play a fast, open, offensive game. I don't think we have a set boundary of saying, 'This is our blueprint. This is what needs to happen.'

Question: I'm wondering what you're expecting from Florida's push and how to handle that sort of situation on the road knowing how they played and how you guys outplayed them in Game 4.

Knoblauch: They're gonna respond, they're gonna be much more prepared for Game 5 than they were in Game 4. Obviously there's distractions … Having a sweep. You've got family and friends coming in for what they're hoping for celebrations. And going back home now that you have been beaten. They're going to respond, they're going to be better. I feel like we have a pretty good feel for what their team identity is and how they're going to play but we can't control that. We're just focused on enjoying this as much as we can. We talked about it. We only had 10 days left yesterday of our season if everything goes well, and as a team collectively we're trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

Question: What do you do as coaches on our five-and-a-half, six-hour flight in terms of how much is it video, how much of it is kind of relaxing? What do you do on a long flight?

Knoblauch: I have a lot of video. Watching the previous game, preparing for your next meetings, thinking about your message and supporting the players individually, the team collectively. Reading a book. Yeah, that's pretty much my time on the plane, and eating some great, great meals.

Question: Yesterday before the game you mentioned, and you repeated this just now, that you have 10 days left of the season. I think that's a quote that catches a lot of people's attention given the position you're in. What do you think it does to your players' mindsets, when they hear you say that there's 10 days left in the season? Not four hours possibly but all this time to get where you want to go?

Knoblauch: I think it does a couple of things. One, this is day 271 of their season. They've been grinding for a long time and they want to get to this position that they're in right now. And they also like each other, they like spending time together, they want to win and I just think it kind of puts them at ease. We've been grinding this out for so long. Let's enjoy what we've got left and we don't have very much left so let's make the most out of it and try and extend as much as possible. So I don't know, we're backs against the wall. And I know Connor Brown had talked about it yesterday in his postgame about us being our best. Our backs have been up against the wall many times throughout the season. Obviously this isn't another time where people have counted us out but there's a lot of belief in this team. And if we play our best we have an opportunity. We need some breaks, yes, we got some breaks last night. We feel we didn't get those breaks in the first part of the series. But yeah, I think everyone's just at ease feeling confident and having fun.

Question: Does Evander Kane go with you to Game 5?

Knoblauch: Yes, Evander is going with us and there's a possibility and we'll just evaluate his health and make a decision then. 

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