The Carolina Hurricanes picked up an important win, and then did it again, Tuesday night in Tampa, topping the Lightning 2-1 in overtime behind a Martin Necas’ game winner.
The Canes, who tied the game in the third on a Teuvo Teravainen power-play goal, hung in to force overtime against the Lightning, who were fueled by a great performance in net from Andrei Vasilevskiy. Brady Skjei initially won the game in the extra period, but the goal was called back due to an offside on the play.
Necas tallied the actual game winner a few minutes later, firing a laser past Vasilevskiy to send the Canes back to Raleigh with a better taste in their mouth.
Not to be outdone by Vasilevskiy was Carolina netminder Frederik Andersen, who had quite the performance of his own. Andersen wasn’t called on too many times, but when he was he made the big saves.
Following the win, Canes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Necas, Skjei and Teravainen spoke with members of the media.
Here is what they said:
On the difficulty of sticking with it when shots aren’t going in: It’s always frustrating when you’re playing a pretty good game. You’re doing what we asked, getting some pretty good looks. He was making some big saves. It was good to keep going. Keep sticking with it, and then obviously we got a big power-play goal after we had butchered the 5-on-3. The 5-on-4 stuff was great all night. We had a lot of good looks. It’s nice to get that one. I thought the guys just kept playing hard all night. [Andersen] was great when he had to be. It was a great goaltending performance for both teams. It was a pretty exciting game for a relatively low-scoring game.
On if Andersen has been better than advertised: No question. Every win this year that he’s played in, he’s had a major impact in the game. That says a lot about him. Tonight was the perfect example. We were playing a good game, real good. If they get another one, who knows what happens there. He held us in there, for sure.
On Andersen getting run into late in the game: You’re always worried when guys go down. But obviously with the goalie situation that we’re in right now, it’s a little precarious for sure.
On having to bounce back from thinking they had won in overtime and having to come back on the ice: Right. I think that was one of the key takeaways for me. To fight back and feel like you win it and then get ‘nope, you didn’t.’ It says a lot about the group. They literally just shook it off, better than I did. They were like ‘ok, let’s play a little bit more.’ It was a real positive game for us.
On feeling like ‘oh no, here we go again’ against Vasilevskiy: It’s par for the course. He’s elite. We all know that. We’ve seen him enough. The league has seen him enough. His accolades speak for themselves.
On if a win like this can really give the team a boost considering the way last season ended: I don’t really look too much in the past. It’s nice to talk about, but it’s old news. We went 1-0 today. That’s what we wanted to do. We’ll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
On his message to the team during the second intermission and on if he was pleased with the results: Pretty obvious on if I was pleased with the response. We had a real good third period. We stuck with it. The message doesn’t change. If we’re not playing well, then there’s a different message. But if we’re playing well and doing what you asked of the guys, you’re not going to change anything. More than anything it’s doubling down. We’re going to double down on what we are doing. Keep it simple and eventually something will go our way. It did.
On having to reset in overtime after thinking they had won the game: It already happened to us last season once, or maybe two seasons ago. That game I think we lost. We just try to forget about it like nothing happened and just play our game. It’s a huge win for us to bounce back after the Florida game. Now we’ll just focus on the next one
On if he got some tips on the game winner from Skjei: Yeah, he showed me yesterday in practice how to score. He had a pretty nice shot. Mine was a little luckier. Yeah, it was lucky.
On hanging in there against Vasilevskiy: After the second period, [Brind’Amour] came into the locker room and just said ‘play our game. Battle for every puck. It doesn’t have to happen in the first shift. It can happen in the last one.’ We did get it in overtime. Great team performance. A good win for us.
On if he was trying to use Victor Hedman as a screen on his game winner: Yeah, a little bit. I was kind of waiting through the neutral zone. I was kind of going from side to side. [Sebastian Aho] took the one guy to the net, and I think it was Hedman that gave me a little space. I tried to cut back, cut it to the middle and shoot through him. It worked out.
On the resilience of the team in this game: Yeah, definitely. I thought our power play obviously kept us in the game with that big goal at the end there. I got one through in overtime. It ended up being offside. All the guys just stayed up on the bench. I think at that point we had two or three more minutes left, and we thought we could get it done. [Necas] had a great goal to get us the two points.
On the penalty kill I thought we were pretty aggressive. That’s kind of our bread and butter, is to be aggressive and not give them much time and space. We did a good job on faceoffs. I thought we got most of the pucks down to their feet, which you need to do on the penalty kill.
On how nice this win was after Saturday night: It’s huge. We knew we needed a bounceback game. It was just a great team effort all around. I think all of the lines, special teams were good. To get the two points against a very good team in Tampa, the reigning cup champions, is huge.
On Frederik Andersen stepping up when he needed to: Definitely. That save in the second period was pretty special. I was on the ice for that one and saw it close up. It kept us in the game, for sure. He’s been so good for us this year. He’s just a rock. He’s been great.
On resetting the penalty kill after Saturday: We learned. Last game we gave up a few too many seam passes. That was a big emphasis for us tonight. We did a great job. We were really aggressive, which is our strength for sure. We got in shot-blocking lanes. It was really good by our penalty kill tonight.
On keeping with it against Vasilevskiy: He’s a great goalie. We know that. Everybody knows that. He played a great game. We’ve just got to put the pucks at him and create some traffic. We got a 5-on-3 and he lost his skate blade or whatever, and we still couldn’t get a shot past him. It was a good thing we got a couple, and it was a big win.
On it being his name day in Finland: Oh yeah, I guess it is. I didn’t realize. I guess then it’s my dad’s birthday, too. I’ve got to call him now. Thanks for the reminder.
On Vasilevskiy losing his blade and on how frustrating it is to play a goalie like him: You don’t see that very often. I didn’t know what the rule was, whether they were going to whistle the game down or just keep going. Everybody just tried to create something, do something, and we got a little confused. We’ve got to put the puck in the net there, for sure. Overall, it was a good battle. Good team win. That’s all we need.
On having to come back out after thinking they had won: Yeah, of course you get the good feeling and then the bad feeling again. You’ve got to get ready again. It’s just hockey. You’ve got to go back and do your job for the next shift. [Necas] put one in.