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They Said It: Brind’Amour, DeAngelo, Kotkaniemi, Raanta break down win over Blackhawks

Following a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks to move to 7-0-0, members of the Hurricanes discussed the victory.

Antti Raanta watches the play during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 in PNC Arena. The game marked Raanta’s regular season debut in a 6-3 victory over Chicago.
Kaydee Gawlik

The Carolina Hurricanes stayed undefeated Friday night in PNC Arena, beating the Chicago Blackhawks to move to 7-0-0.

Tony DeAngelo recorded the Canes’ first Gordie Howe hat trick since 2012, while Antti Raanta finally got a game and net and got his first win as a member of the Hurricanes.

Following the win, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, DeAngelo, Jesperi Kotkaniem and Raanta spoke with members of the media.

Here is what they had to say:

Rod Brind’Amour

On the team not taking a breath: Yeah, the first 10 minutes weren’t great, that’s for sure. I think we gave up maybe 10 shots in the first 10 minutes, and then I don’t think they got a shot in the second half of the first period. We played a better game after the first 10 minutes. Then the game just kind of dissipated. I don’t know what to say about it. Just penalties. It wasn’t a very fun game to coach. I don’t know how it was to watch. But this didn’t have any flow. But we had done enough damage to get ahead that we could get through it.

On Raanta getting the win in his first start since his dad passed: That’s tough. Guys deal with a lot of stuff that you don’t know about. It’s real-life stuff. I was happy for him to get the win.

On having the right parts in place on this team: That’s what you need to do. To be successful, all those teams that are successful have that. What you just said, you just knocked off like five things and you’ve got to have that. That’s why we brought in the certain players we did, and now we’ve obviously got to put it all together and forge ahead.

On what they’ve seen from DeAngelo: That’s what we thought we were getting. He’s a good puck mover. He can join the rush and score. He’s got that competitive edge, that fire that you love.

On the team’s resiliency early: I love the group. We weren’t bad at the start, but it wasn’t perfect. That’s for sure. Then we had some good shifts, got some breaks tonight and some bounces that went our way. I don’t really know. It’s really hard to assess this game for me. We were going along and there’s a penalty, and everyone is looking around like ‘where’s the penalty?’ Next thing you know we’ve got eight minor penalties. Just a really strange game.

On guys sticking up for each other: I love that. I love sticking up for your group. Obviously everyone does. That’s so important. But it’s not a recipe for success if you’re going to be in the box, that’s for sure.

On Nino Niederreiter’s injury: That looks like some sort of lower injury there that could be not short. It looks like he could be out for a while.

On the flurry of goals and the skill: That’s what we have. We have the ability to counter quickly, and like you said, some high-skill players. That’s what can happen in a game. You’re not necessarily playing well against the other team, but you do it right and get your chance and can bury it. That’s a good sign to have that. We’ve just got to limit the other chances. We gave up a ton. That’s the work in progress.

On Kotkaniemi getting rewarded with a goal for playing the right way the last two games: Yeah, but almost more to your point about talent, that was a high-end play. Tony’s goal was a high-end play, a great pass. That was one of those games where we got away from it but our skill took over at times and won us that game. Not always going to be like that, that’s for sure.

Tony DeAngelo

On his Gordie Howe hat trick: That might be my first ever in my career, even including junior. I’m pretty sure it is. That was fun. The crowd was crazy at the end. That was cool, too. It was nice.

On taking some time to get settled in: I felt settled. Our team is so good. We have so many good players that it was easy to get settled in. Just some fortunate bounces tonight. The first goal I think I could have scored if I was left-handed [Trocheck] made such a good pass. Those kinds of things come in waves sometimes. Points are great. Obviously it’s something that I’ve got to bring to the team. We’re just playing really good hockey, and we’re finding ways to win. We got down twice during the first period, and we came out of the first period up 4-2. It just shows what type of team we have. Everything else just falls into place.

On if tonight was emblematic of how he thinks he can play: Yeah. A lot of special teams tonight and stuff, I don’t think I played a ton. And then I had the fight, so I sat a little bit there. But yeah, I thought I made better plays and better reads. Much better plays on the power play. Last night I ruined the power play one time with two terrible turnovers. I thought it was much better tonight.

On why he fought Reese Johnson: I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy. I gave him a shot in the second period, a cross check there. He asked me to go. I gave him a shot, so I’ve got to do it, right? You can’t give guys shots and then when they ask you to go say no. I’ve got a lot of respect. He’s a tough kid. It is what it is.

On responding and getting a lead for Raanta in the first period: That’s a great question. For us as a team, we know what type of goalie [Raanta] is. But I don’t know what he was thinking. The first goal was a really nice play by them. The second one, I could barely see it from the bench there and I had a good angle. But Raanta is real good. He settled in and made a lot of good saves after that. But yeah, for us to get four for him there I’m sure kind of takes a little pressure off.

On the scoring depth of the team: I think that’s what we can do. All six of our defensemen can score, too. Obviously it hasn’t happened a ton yet, but we can all score. Our forwards are so good. Anytime you are out there with any line, you know you can control the offensive play and any play in general. All of our guys are good defensively. We’re playing good defense and then we transition that to offense. We’ve got a lot of special players up front. We’re deep. We can’t get too confident. It’s obviously a great start for us, but we’ve just got to keep playing the way we are going so far, keep getting better.

On what he’s learned from Brind’Amour: I like his style. He’s an energetic guy on the bench. I like the enthusiasm he brings. I like the way he speaks to the players before games, getting you ready to go. All around he’s been a good coach so far. I’m still only a month in. I think I’ve been here for a little over a month. But so far, I’ve been impressed. Like everybody said in the past before I got here, he’s just living up to expectations.

On the fans getting into the game and chanting for him: Fans get into the game. They love that kind of stuff. I appreciate that. That was real nice. Like you said, obviously I got a lot of feedback both ways, positive and negative, when I signed, which I knew was going to happen no matter where I went. But I’m really appreciative tonight of that kind of ovation. It means more than the fans might think.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

On getting on the scoresheet: It feels really good. Like you said, last night I just played the right way. The goals will come, like we saw today. Just keep working hard, and we’ll see results.

On playing with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen: It’s been really fun. Like I’ve said before, they’re probably the most-skilled guys that Finland has to offer right now. For me, it’s just working hard with them and trying to get the puck to them and just making some plays.

On how good this team can be: I think it’s even a step better. I think we can be a really good contender this year. As we’ve seen so far, it’s a really hard-working team. Guys are giving their all every night when we go out there. It’s been great to see.

On coming back from an early deficit: Sorry guys, I’ll just say the same thing. We just work really hard. We always find a way to be successful. Grind through it and bear down. That’s our way.

Antti Raanta

On how he felt his first game of the season went: Pretty much like a first game. There were some moments where it started to feel really good, but then a few moments where you felt you were a little bit late on some things and you didn’t get the right read on the plays. I think if you would do the right things, you could probably make every save on those goals. It’s the first game. A lot of emotions in the game. It was nice to get back in there and play behind this team. Obviously I got a lot of goal support, so I kind of need to deliver also and make sure the team is winning.

On how tough it is as a goalie when you aren’t facing consistent shots and have a big lead: Yeah, especially the third period. Not much was happening, and then we were in the PK pretty much the last 10 minutes of the period. It’s always when you have a three- or four-goal lead that you’re going to be on the PK for the rest of the game. Emotions got a little bit out of hand in a few moments, but that’s what happens when these two teams collide. I think it showed our team effort, also. We’re not going to take any steps back. We kept pushing. I think there could have been probably a couple of penalties for the Blackhawks, but our PK was doing a good job. We killed those penalties and made sure that we got the win.

On if the early lead helped him settle in: Sometimes it’s almost tougher when you get a big lead because usually the game kind of turns around a little bit. I felt like we were still playing pretty good in the second period. They got their chances in their power play. But yeah, when your team is scoring six goals it’s kind of a funny feeling. If you lose the game, you’re going to end up giving seven goals or more. That’s not going to be a good thing. I was just trying to focus on the next shot, trying to get myself going. Trying to feel comfortable and things like that. There were a few saves where I started to feel good, and then there were a couple of times where I kind of overplayed situations. Overall, it’s nice to get there and get that win.

On Tony DeAngelo’s energy: It’s pretty awesome. He’s putting a lot of emotion in the game. It’s nice to see that he’s getting on the scoreboard, and he was pretty fired up with that fight also. It’s always fun when guys are pumped up. I think Tony was really fired up today. That showed. He got a goal and an assist and the fight. You don’t really see that many times from the d-men, but it’s nice to be part of that kind of day.

On if it’s still special for him to beat the Blackhawks: Yeah, obviously. That was my first team in the NHL. I had two great years there. I was saying to [Jonathan Toews] in the warmups that he is the only guy left in the lineup right now with [Patrick Kane] out. It was kind of a weird feeling to only see [Toews] there, and everyone else either got traded or retired. But yeah, it’s always fun to play against your old team. But when the game has started, you just focus on making the saves and making sure you play the right way. When the game is over, then you can have the little laughs and talk with your old teammates. But usually before and when the game is on, you really don’t pay that much attention.

On having to wait so long to play: Yeah, but it’s also for myself a lot of emotions today. It was my first game since my dad passed away this August. It’s been a rough couple of months. He usually always texted me before the game, and it was kind of a weird feeling today to go to the game and not get that text from him. If anything, it’s good to put this game and get this win to remembering my dad. That was a big thing for me today.

On what his dad’s name was and on if he played hockey: Pekka...Yeah, he played until he was 18 or 19. He’s been my biggest supporter. Without him and without my mom I wouldn’t be here. Lots of different feelings today for sure, to go to the game and play and win, it’s obviously nice. But it’s also a little bit emotional.