From the Coach
I thought everyone was good. It was a good hockey game all around. The power play’s been good. They only had the one kick at the can, but they won both faceoffs, and the puck never left the zone. We had some good looks. The goal ended up being the game winner. Credit to the guys for taking advantage of the opportunity.
[On Pesce and Slavin against McDavid:] Outstanding. Both guys skate real well and did a real good job with some tough one on one battles. It was a dogfight out there.
It got to be a real grind at the end. Both teams were playing hard and doing a good job. We did a better job of hanging onto pucks and being strong down low in the third, probably starting about ten minutes to go in the second. We got some good shifts in the offensive zone.
We’re getting better as a team, for sure. We’re in a very important stretch as everyone knows. We have to find a way to get it done tomorrow, then onto Washington. We’re trying to improve our game as we go. The difference for me is the special teams: 3 for 3, 1 for 1, game winner on the power play. We capitalized.
Lindy’s playing real well. Lindy’s playing the best hockey in the past three weeks, high end hockey, unheralded type play, very competitive. He got dinged up at the end, down on one knee, and the ref was going to let me change him and he wasn’t coming off. I love that. I absolutely love that.
In the Room
McDavid is one of the best players in the league, and for good reason. He makes everyone else on his team dangerous. I thought Draisaitl and him had some great chemistry. Fortunately we were able to limit him to one. He made a great play. I’m happy with the result.
We’ve turned our season into small segments, and I think it’s important to focus one game at a time. We need to capitalize tomorrow and start getting some wins on the road.
When we had some breakdowns my guys were there for me. Guys are sacrificing their bodies and trying to do what they an. The difference tonight was the special teams. We go 1 for 1 [PP] and kill 3 for 3 against a really talented team.
We’ve talked a lot about the power play and have practiced it quite a bit. It’s getting better all the time. We’re moving the puck faster and playing with a high pace. We have two good centers who win almost every faceoff, which helps a lot.
Confidence is getting higher now that we have some wins. Hopefully this is something we can build on.
We got our legs going from the second half of the second, and had a great third playing in their end. It was the plan to play in their end, especially with a lead. We did a lot of good things to play with a solid lead and find a way to finish it off.
We tried to limit their chances as much as we could. I think we did a good job. The power play has given us momentum. Obviously a big goal tonight, but we’ve continued to move the puck quick. We’ve got some players with great skill, and we’re starting to get on the same page. You can tell the puck is moving quick.
[Aho] has continued to grow and get better. That’s what you want to see in a young player. It’s going to be a tough start for most coming into this league, but he’s found his groove and you can tell he’s gaining confidence by the game.
It’s hard to completely contain [McDavid] with his speed and skill set. You just have to take away his time and space. If he doesn’t have time to make a play, it’s going to be hard for him to get it off. So you just have to have good gaps on him and match his speed.
I think we didn’t give them much of anything tonight. Wardo played a heck of a game, we had a few posts that saved us too, but for the most part we did a good job of limiting their grade-A chances.
We’re definitely fresh coming out of this break. We’re playing to our strengths, playing a fast game, getting pucks behind the defensemen, getting on them. If we can keep going with that, we’ll be good to finish this road trip out.
- Connor McDavid scored his goal, yes, but Slavin and Pesce did a number on him through most of the game. It was a well-deserved first star for Slavin, who gets another tall order tomorrow night against John Tavares and the Islanders.
- Fresh off a five-point performance at the All-Star Game, Justin Faulk remains on fire. He has points in both games since the break, and his assist to Aho on the game winner tonight was a thing of beauty.
- Go ahead and get your congratulatory tweets ready for the inevitable Sebastian Aho announcement on Monday that he’s been selected one of the league’s three stars of the week, because at this point no one is hotter than he is over the past two games. Aho now has four goals and an assist since the break, and who knew he had such a slap shot? It was deflected, sure, but it was a cannon bomb from Aho.
- Jordan Staal was right on the money: you can see Aho’s confidence grow every single night he’s on the ice. Not since Jeff Skinner have we seen a player grow up on every single shift, and Aho is just as much a threat to score every time he’s on the ice as anyone in the league right now.
- The Canes didn’t give up a power play goal to a top-ten opposition power play, very much in bend-but-don’t-break fashion. Brett Pesce’s penalty in the first period was only his fifth minor of the season, but it didn’t seem to hurt the Canes, as Ron Hainsey especially did yeoman’s work, playing a team-high 5:28 down a man.
- Quietly, Derek Ryan had an outstanding night in the faceoff circle, winning 8 of 11. Staal, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask were all also above 50% on faceoffs tonight.
- The Canes are now 6-3-2 in the front end of back-to-back sets. They will look to improve on their 6-4-0 record tomorrow night against the Islanders. Peters wouldn’t commit to Eddie Lack as the starter tomorrow, and after the game he had tonight the betting money has to be on Ward starting again. We’ll find out tomorrow.