With their convincing 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, the Carolina Hurricanes improved to 4-0 on the 2021-22 season. The win was fueled by dominant special teams play and some timely saves by their red-hot goaltender.
Rod Brind’Amour, Jordan Staal, and Vincent Trocheck spoke to the media about the win. Here’s what they had to say.
On his team’s overall effort in the win: I thought the special teams were big. We killed a lot of penalties and got some power-play goals, which were huge. I didn’t love our overall 5-on-5 game. We just had too many turnovers that led to good chances for them, but Freddie was great. It was a good effort. We did some really good things, but we had some hiccups and Freddie was great.
On how things have gone offensively: The puck’s going in, but there are a lot of areas where we can be sharper. I think we need to get more pucks to the net. We’re over-passing at times, looking for the pretty play. Our overall game, I think we need to be sharper there, but we are making some good plays and we’re working hard. That’s showing in the victories right now.
On how the team keeps winning with the line juggling: We’ve got some skill players. Figuring out where they fit best is going to be an ongoing process for a while, but as long as we work hard at it, good things should come with the group we have.
On the team’s early road success: You want to get off to a good start, number one. On the road, getting some of those games done is good. I think it’s always better to start early in the season with road games. Those are the ones where you don’t mind having long road trip to start the year because everyone’s excited about playing and you can knock some of those games out. You want to be home more during the middle of the year and have long homestands. Whether you’re at home or on the road, you have to play the same way.
On if he thinks Andersen will play on Monday against the Maple Leafs: He might play… We gotta think about it and assess everything tomorrow to see where everyone’s at. We’ll go from there.
On if Trocheck’s game is similar to Staal in that he brings it every night in all areas: I think it’s the nature of our sport that, for forwards, that you’re looking at their point totals to see if they’re playing well. I don’t do that. It’s what are they creating, what are they giving up, what are they doing for the team to help us win. Both of those guys have been special for us in that way. Obviously, Jordo for a long time and continues to do so.
On if he also thought like that when he was a player: Nope. Players always think about points, because that’s what everyone talks about. That’s why it’s my job to make sure they understand that what we appreciate here is going out and playing hard and doing it right. If the points come, that’s great. Obviously, we need guys to score and generate offensively, but that doesn’t come before doing it right.
On the effectiveness of the power play: When the power play is clicking, it makes it easier to win games. It’s not easy scoring goals in this league and when the power play is going, it helps. Obviously we had some good bounces, but I thought we did some good things to create those bounces on the power play.
On the team coming together more and more: The guys are playing well and understanding their roles and what’s expected of them. All throughout the lineup, I think everyone has really bought into how we want to play and the speed that we want to play at and the way we’re trying to defend. Obviously, we can improve and get a lot better. Freddie played great again and really bailed us out early with a few big saves. We were getting a little too cute, but I thought the guys have really bought in to how we want to do things here.
On the impact from the top-of-the-lineup players (Aho, Svechnikov, etc.) getting off to good starts: They’re obviously the engine of our team and when those guys are going, good things will happen. Not that surprised by it. They’re two very talented players. There’s a lot of talented players in this group, but what they do and how they carry themselves and the way they came into this season, they looked ready to go and I’m not surprised by the start they’re having.
On Frederik Andersen’s play: He’s off to a great start as well. There’s definitely no better feeling than when you make a big mistake and your goalie bails you out. It’s a give and take. Obviously, we’re taking a little bit too much from Freddie right now and we’d like to play better in front of him and really keep those grade-A’s to a minimum. But, yeah. Calm, cool, just looks good in the net and just made big saves look easy. It’s nice to see and like I said, hopefully we won’t have to be needing him as much going forward.
On the power play’s success: It’s good to get off to a good start. The power play, penalty kill… special teams is going to be huge. They always are, especially going late into the season and the playoffs. So to get off to a hot start gives us a little bit of confidence and hopefully it helps our team win.
On playing with Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas: It makes things easy on me. I’ve said it a few times now, I just have to keep my game simple and get those guys the puck. They’re obviously dynamic offensively. They’re going to make things happen on every shift, every time they have the puck. For me, it’s just playing simple hockey and getting pucks to the net and watching them do their thing.
On playing the antagonizer role: For me, it’s sometimes a little bit too much, but I think it’s just the competitive nature of the game. Every once in a while it might get a little heated, and it just so happened to be Laine tonight, but there’s nothing that goes into [who I go after].
On Frederik Andersen: He’s been phenomenal. He’s kept us in all of these games. We’ve had a lot of flurries in the defensive zone. We’re not usually a team that gives up so many grade-A’s, but when we have in these last few games, he’s stepped up and kept us in them and that’s a big part of the reason why we’re winning games.