Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media via Zoom about what lies ahead, here’s a full breakdown of what he had to say:
On Joel Edmundson and Andrei Svechnikov: Both those guys are unfit. Eddy, I would say he’s definitely closer to playing than Svech, but both those guys won’t be there tonight.
On the goaltending in these playoffs: There’s good goalies. I can’t speak to why that is, necessarily, other than that I know our guys put in a lot of work. Especially in that pause, I think Reimer picked up his game, where a lot of guys maybe wouldn’t have. He found a way to get better. It’s a testament to him. I think generally when you have a long layoff, I think the defense is easier to come back in tune, where maybe the offense in general is a little rusty. At least, I find that. But the goalies have been sharp, and we’ve got two good ones for sure.
On the second period in game three: That’s the game. I think we had it in the first. We had the bulk of the play in the first period, and we didn’t score. I think we got a little deflated when they came right out on a power play, kind of got a weird one and knocked it out of the air. I thought they certainly took that momentum and kept it throughout the game after that. The second period was bad, but the third period wasn’t much better. Give them credit, we’ve just got to find a way to keep what we had going. We had a good start, we’ve got to keep that up for 60 minutes.
On players seizing opportunities through injuries: You hope so. To [Haydn Fleury]’s point, he was waiting in the wings because we had some good players playing in front of him, so we had some depth. [Ryan Dzingel], too, has been a healthy scratch here a couple times because of the numbers, so here’s his opportunity. We just don’t need him to step up though, we need everybody to step up. If you’re going to beat the best team in the league, you can’t do it with half the team or a few guys. You need everybody going.
On what aspect of the game is more important, special teams or even strength: Both. They’ve got a great power play, we know that. It doesn’t benefit us when the games are going that way where there’s lots of penalties. On the other side of it, our power play has improved a lot this year and we need to be better in that area, so I think it really doesn’t matter which way the game goes. We just have to be on our toes. There’s no weaknesses on the opponent, so you’re going to have to go take it from them.
On being in the bubble so long: That’s the biggest thing that’s probably not getting talked about enough. I think it wasn’t talked about enough when the format came out. It sounded all great four months ago just to get back to playing. But this, to me, was going to be the biggest challenge. Everybody wants to play. We’d play on the street if we had to. But I think everyone’s dealing with the same. It’s not even the players. You have the media in here, everyone that’s here. They feel it. It’s a long time to be away. We’ve been away now three weeks and we’ve played three playoff games. Guys are feeling it, but it’s a long road and that’s the team that can hunker down the best and mentally channel all your positive energy to why we’re here is the team that’s probably going to be able to hoist the cup when it’s all done.
On his experience in pivotal game fours: I think when you bring up the past, it’s the past. There’s not many guys that even can relate to those moments. So you know how pivotal the game is. Going down 3-1 is tough, so you’ve got to get back in the series, you’ve got to have this game. So I don’t think it needs to be said. I think we understand it. I don’t know if there’s much to be drawn from the past because none of these guys were around.
On fast starts and scoring first: I think anybody would say whether it’s playoffs or regular season that the first goal is huge and the numbers back it up. It allows you to not have to press. If something bad happens and they get one, you’re still tied. If something bad happens and you go down two, it’s a whole different game. It’s important. Obviously it’s necessarily going to change anything you’re doing, but there’s a little more sense of ease in your game when you’re playing with the lead, that’s for sure.