The Canes can thank blossoming superstar Andrei Svechnikov for the victory who scored not only his first career hat-trick, but also the franchises first ever playoff hat-trick. Forward Jordan Martinook collected the Hurricanes’ other goal, the first postseason goal of his career.
While the team’s relentless forecheck kept the Rangers mostly hemmed in, goaltender Petr Mrazek was called upon more than once to make a few spectacular saves for his team keeping Carolina on top.
The trio spoke to the media over Zoom following the game’s conclusion.
On getting into the game: I saw the puck really well today. Especially the first period. The glove set the tone for myself.
On when he knew Andrei Svechnikov was special: He was always special. Since day one, when I saw him in Carolina. He can shoot the puck really well. He can make plays. Great player out there.
On the play of the defense in front of him: Especially today, the third period was really well played by us. We didn’t give them much. They probably got five or six* shots on me, so we managed the puck really well. We had the pressure on them and that was a success today.
*(The Rangers had seven third period shots)
On the Hurricanes’ relentless forecheck keeping shots allowed low: The last two games, I haven’t seen a lot of shots, but I think they got some quality players. They had some good chances in the last two games and we managed it pretty well. Just have to be focused well. Don’t see many pucks, but sometimes that’s harder than seeing 40.
On being in the position to win the series: We just have to play the same game we played on Saturday and today. Don’t give them anything special and just play our game and focus on ourselves.
On today’s performance: I felt that we came out hard and we played hard. Excited to have scored my first hat-trick against a special and superstar goalie. I wouldn’t have done that without my partners, so thanks for that. I think we played a really good game.
On being a physically dominant player: I just love that style. Just hit hard and I think I’m playing a pretty hard game. That’s why I think I’m scoring goals. I’m gonna hit them and we’re going to go in the offensive zone. Someone’s going to try to hit me and I’m going to shoot it into the net.
On seeing Svechnikov mature: I’d like to say I wouldn’t see something that he’s able to do that would surprise me, but he’s special. Everything he does, you just sit back and go ‘Wow.’ At… (Looks towards Svechnikov) What are you 19? 20? What are you, 20? (Svechnikov: Yep) At 20 scoring a hat-trick in the playoffs. That’s pretty special. Couldn’t be prouder of Svech. Felt like I had a little bit to do with it last year, but not this year.
On when he knew how special Svechnikov was: I think I always knew. You just see him coming into training camp last year and he’s 18 years old and he looks like he’s 24. He’s built like an ox and he can skate and shoot and does everything fast and thinks the game well. I’m pumping his tires pretty well right now, but he’s special. It’s fun to watch him and it will be fun to watch him for the next couple of months here. (Svechnikov: Thanks brother.)
On what’s been the secret to unraveling the Rangers: I think if you ask any guy on this team what we need to be successful is our forecheck and back pressure. We have four lines that aren’t afraid to go out and work hard. It starts with these guys (points to Svechnikov). They’re our top line and they’re not afraid to get pucks behind the d-men and get to work and play hard down there. When you see your best players doing that, it just flows all the way through our lineup. We know the type of game we need to play and I think we’ve done that pretty well the last two games.
On Morgan Geekie: I think it starts from even before the pause. You saw in the short time he was with us and he had like five or six points*. He’s poised. He holds onto pucks and he works. He’s a good complement to me and Brock [McGinn]. Me and Brock are going to go in and try and get pucks back to him. He’ll hold onto it and he’ll make plays. It was a great play by him and luckily that was a big goal in the game.
*(Geekie had four regular season points)
On staying more disciplined: You look at Game 1. The second period. It takes the complete flow out of the game. This first I think we had another three. You want everyone to stay involved and stay part of it and I feel that after the first, everybody was just in the game and we’re rolling four lines. That’s what you need to do to be successful. You saw in the third period, they iced the puck a couple of times and they had their sticks on their knees and that’s what we like to see because we got the next line up going and trying to do the exact same thing.