The Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators went toe-to-toe in a 2021 playoff rematch on Saturday night. And just like in the first round of last year’s postseason, the Hurricanes came out victorious in a tightly contested affair.
After the win, Rod Brind’Amour, Andrei Svechnikov, and Frederik Andersen spoke to the media. Here’s what they had to say:
On Frederik Andersen’s performance: Well clearly, that was the difference. Haven’t seen a lot of games like that in the three years I’ve been doing this, where clearly the goalie was the reason we won the game or that we needed him to win. It’s usually that the goalie plays good, but we’re also playing well. That was not the case tonight. We didn’t play a very good game in front of him. Came up huge.
On Andrei Svechnikov’s low and high moments in the game: That’s going to happen, those kinds of plays. But he’s a game changer. Had the turnover obviously, but he got it back. He has that ability. That’s why he’s special.
On Brett Pesce: He logs such heavy minutes. The penalty kill was good, while the power play was atrocious. I don’t even know what we were trying to accomplish there. That wasn’t very impressive. But our penalty kill bailed us out and he’s a huge part of that. He logs heavy, heavy minutes against their better players all night and he was good.
On what goes through his mind when he blends lines: After the second period, we just shuffled the deck a little just because there was nothing going the way it should look. It was clear that the only line that was going well was Jordo’s line in my opinion so we just kept them together and just made tweaks here or there and hope to get a little juice out of it and I thought we played a better period in the third.
On Jesper Fast: He’s been steady. You know what you’re getting out of him. That’s what you love about him as a coach. That’s why teammates love him because he just plays the same way. He got rewarded for it here early in the year, but he’s played well. He made a couple of nice plays here too that he didn’t connect on. He was really solid. Killing penalties… He’s been good and that’s one of the reasons that we got the win tonight. Jordo’s line, they were effective.
On Fast being a sneaky good kind of player: He gets overlooked because we have some bigger name players that, rightfully so, get their kind of say on how we do, but you can’t have success as a team without a Jesper Fast. Those kinds of players that know how to play and you can count on it at the end of the game and they chip in too with some goals. That’s huge.
On Jesperi Kotkaniemi taking longer to adjust and get in sync: I don’t think it’s trouble. Tonight, it wasn’t just that line. We had three lines that were not up to par so we made some shifts. I think there’s a definite learning curve with how we’re doing things, but I think he’s coming along.
On if he has always had a strong shot: I try to improve it every day. I’m not sure if I’ve always had a shot, but I always try to work on it.
On Andersen’s performance: He played awesome. I don’t know how many shots they had, but I felt like they had 50 or 60 shots. He made some big saves.
On what his plan was on his go-ahead goal: Necas made a great play. He got it under the stick and passed it to me. I shot it short side because he was going from the right side to the left side and I saw some room on the short side upstairs. I’m glad I got that goal.
On how the team’s second game compared to the first game: They played an awesome game. They played fast. We played pretty good, too, but we made some mistakes, especially me too. We’re going to work on it and be ready for the next game.
On if he feels like he’s had some more luck this season: You want to work hard and show your best performance. Last year, I felt like I didn’t have much luck. This year, I think I have so hopefully it keeps going.
On what happened during his hectic save in the third period: I don’t remember all of the specifics, but I think I had a feeling that it was sneaking behind me, so I turned around to try to cover that post up. I didn’t really know where the puck was until the guys cleared it out, so they did a great job of helping me out there.
On how he dealt with Nashville’s growing offensive pressure: I was just trying to stay to my process of focusing on the next shot. They’re a good team. We were just trying to stay in the fight and the next shift, that’s what players do. As a goalie, it’s the next shot. I think we stayed in the fight and got two points.
On if his calm presence is one of his strengths: I try to. The key to my game is good position and being athletic. You’re going to have different emotional swings during a game. It’s a really exciting sport, so there’s going to be lots of ups and downs in every game and every period. The better you can ride that wave and not let it affect you, it’s beneficial for you.
On the importance of the team’s penalty kill: It’s huge. We won 3-2, so it’s important for the guys to be ready to go and come out and take that away from them. It’s a big chance for any team in this league to get a man advantage. When you can kill it off, it’s a huge momentum boost for the team and the guys on the bench.