Not all wins are created equal.
The Carolina Hurricanes got a massive two points Thursday night in Calgary, beating the Flames 2-1 in overtime as Sebastian Aho scored both goals in a game that certainly wasn’t Carolina’s best.
The Canes got the win though, as a couple huge defensive plays late in the game coupled with another great night on the penalty kill saw Carolina past a really, really good Calgary team.
Following the win, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, goalie Frederik Andersen and Aho spoke with members of the media via Zoom.
Here is what they had to say:
On this win coming a little tougher than some: That’s exactly what happened. We weren’t sharp. That’s a good team. They don’t give you much. I don’t know how you saw it, but I saw it as a gross hockey game. It wasn’t fun to watch. It wasn’t fun to be a part of, to be honest with you. But like you said, we dug in. We did. We were battling. We just weren’t very sharp, and we’re probably pretty fortunate there.
On if it had a playoff feeling: The tightness of it, for sure. There wasn’t a lot of room. They didn’t give us many chances. When we did get a chance, we didn’t want to shoot. It was just a weird night for us offensively. I thought we did ok defensively. Obviously killing penalties was a big part of the game for both teams. Obviously we had a lot more to kill. I thought that was in a way what kept us in the game.
On the penalty kill to end regulation and start overtime: Exactly. You take a penalty with a minute to go, the first thing you’re thinking of is that you’ve got to get it to overtime. They did a nice job there at the end. We didn’t really give them much. It gave us a chance to win.
On the value of Aho in a game like this: That’s your best player. We rely on him to do a lot of things, and he came through for us tonight when I think a lot of guys were just having off nights. It was just hard to get anything kind of generated. Sometimes that’s what happens. Sometimes the best player just has to take over.
On if he’s more and more impressed every day with Jaccob Slavin: I’m not more impressed or anything. I can’t be more impressed about an individual. It’s just icing on the cake that he can do this. Obviously it’s not something we want to do, but we’re missing some great players. To hang around missing some of the guys we are says a lot about him because he’s doing a lot of the work, but just our group in general.
On things going his way and on his skaters making some goal-line clearances: Yeah, sure. The guys made some great plays on those. It went in behind me. But that’s awesome. I’ll take the help sometimes. Just great plays.
On seeing Aho finish it in overtime: Yeah, he’s a special player. He’s a great skater. He sees the ice really well. Knowing that it was 3-on-3, he knew he had a lot of space up that left side. He took advantage. It was a great goal.
On what Calgary did well to make it a tough game: They have their guys that are tough that go to the net and play a little bit harder, and then they have their skill guys. They have a pretty good mix of that. I think we handled it really well, though. I think the guys played awesome today. We weren’t giving up a lot. We stuck with it all game. We eventually got the break. I think our patience was really good this evening.
On what has been working so well for the penalty kill: I think we’re well prepared and work really hard. And we’re detailed. I think that’s really the major keys to that. Tonight was great. The other night was really good as well. We’re not really letting them sit up, which is great. I think that’s the best way to defend it, to not even give them a sniff in the zone. I have really big respect for the work that they’ve put in.
On his winner in overtime: The way it worked, I had some space and time to build up my speed. I decided early on to take that guy one-on-one. They made a nice switch there, a little bit of side pressure there. He had kind of caught me already, but I got a break there. It felt good.
On it being a tough two points: Yeah, it was a good effort through the lineup. I think guys worked hard. It wasn’t pretty. I know we can be a lot better than that, but at the same time we killed a lot of penalties. Freddie was unbelievable in the net. And we had big plays defensively as a group. It was a nice win.
On the challenges Calgary presented: That’s a good team. They work pretty well as a unit there. They have speedy, skillful forwards there. They like to go quick up all the time. You have to be alert about it. It’s just a good team overall.
On Jaccob Slavin’s workload lately: In my opinion, he’s one of the best in the league, for sure. Every night. Right now he’s probably playing a little bit more than usual with a few guys out. He’s playing on the power play. He’s been very good at that, too. Just overall a very good player. He’s a huge player for us.