June 06, 2010
It could be argued, quite successfully, that Dustin Byfuglien's(notes) effort in Game 5 for the Chicago Blackhawks was the most significant performance by a non-goalie in their playoff run. For the energy, for the results and for this:
Here's what Buff's night looked like statistically:
We don't often run these postgame pressers' Q&As, but Byfuglien's rally from non-factor in Games 2-4 to being the most important factor in the Blackhawks' 7-4 victory was remarkable. Here's Buff after the game:
Q. Dustin, you initiated a lot of the action tonight. Can you talk a little bit maybe about your thought process coming into the game?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: You know, getting down there two games in their building, you know, we had to come back with some fire and just get on them and show them that we weren't going to quit. Right from the get-go we just moved our feet and stayed physical.
Q. Dustin, how driven were you going into the game tonight?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: I was focused, ready. I knew what I had to do. Just stuck to my game plan and never got away from it.
Q. Dustin, is there any extra satisfaction in flattening Chris Pronger(notes) the way you did?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: No, he's out there to battle. So am I. I'm going to try to get the best of him and be strong. That's all I have to do.
Q. Dustin, guys in the locker room were saying you came out with fire in your eyes. You played like a big man. Was there personal motivation? Had you gotten off of the game you wanted to play at all?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: I don't know if I really got off my game. I just wasn't getting the bounces and the things that make me happy. I just knew I had to come in and work hard and do the best I can to help the team. That's the way I came in today.
Q. Similar question, Buff. When did you find about your line change, and do you think about it when they tell you who you are playing with? Do you think it was a good thing that you, Kane and Toews were split up after the first four games?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: I think so. We didn't have too much production out of us. We had to change things up. We didn't really have time to sit and think about who we were playing with. It was kind of like the last second.
All year we've mixed the lines around, and everyone has really played with everyone. So it wasn't a real big thing. It was just going out there and playing together as a team and moving our feet and doing the right things.
Q. Dustin, there was a lot of talk coming into this about how Chris Pronger was dominating this series and the battle with you. Did you feel that you needed to make a statement or prove anything?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: No, I don't think he's been winning any big battles. The guy does what he does. You can't ever stop. You have to continue working. The harder you work, the more you're going to get and pressure him, and he's going to have a hard time too.
Q. Dustin, can you just talk about the power-play? What were you guys doing tonight that maybe you hadn't been doing earlier in the series?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: We just settled down and played our game and that's a big factor, just even with the even strength, we came out ready to go, controlling the puck a little better. That led into the power-play with guys just settling down, confidence and just playing. That's something we needed to do. That's something we did very well tonight.
Q. Dustin, you're kind of low-key after that first goal as opposed to how you normally are. What was your mindset there?
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN: Just excited. We haven't done anything yet. It wasn't a big thing to celebrate. It wasn't a real big goal. But we won a game, and we have to stay focused and get ready for another one.
Keep in mind that Byfuglien tends to score in clusters in the postseason. Just in time for the Blackhawks to be one win away from the Cup ...