The Carolina Hurricanes overcame some tough adversity in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings despite a shorthanded roster.
After the game, Rod Brind’Amour, Nino Niederreiter, Jack Drury and Brett Pesce spoke to the media via Zoom on the win.
Here’s what they had to say:
On what the game tells him about his team: Well, nothing surprises me with this group. When you think it maybe will be a little too tough, they find a way. Just a gritty effort up and down the lineup from pretty much everybody. It was one of those special wins, special nights for [Jack Drury]. First game and all that. Getting that first goal was big. There was a lot of good memories in this game.
On Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo getting right back into it: That was a concern obviously. Both those guys played extremely well and that says a lot about those two guys that they can step in and not have missed a bit.
On the attitude heading into the game: It was, “We’re going to play and we expect to win.” That was how we talked about it and certainly how the guys approached it. Guys gutted it out, there’s no doubt about it with being shorthanded there and all the guys we brought in did a real nice job.
On the penalty kill and Nino Niederreiter: The penalty kill has been good and we needed it tonight. I think we took three, maybe, and had one power play so that was the difference in the game. Being able to kill those, especially at critical times. And Nino was good too. Got a big goal for us to start the game and got us one to start the third. Now we were ahead and it’s a much different game.
On the call ups from the Chicago Wolves: They were huge. Got to give management a lot of credit this offseason just making sure we had those guys down there. Guys that could play and had experience. I think that’s been huge and I think it’s good draft picks. Good by management again recognizing the kind of players we need around here.
On Jack Drury’s debut: You let it role and see what happens. You just want him to go play and that’s what I think he did. He didn’t show any nerves. Just went out and played. Obviously had a big goal. But I thought his overall game was solid. He had some hiccups out there, but he was going against some of the best guys in the league. You could see there was a couple of shifts where it was like, “Uh oh.” But those are all learning moments for him and I thought he handled himself pretty well.
On Andrew Poturalski: We’ve known him for a long time and he’s been doing all he could do. He’s been lighting up the minors for at least a year and a half and got his chance tonight and he obviously did a great job for us. I didn’t play him as much, maybe, but when he was out there he was effective. Bringing him in, we knew he was a power play guy and he got his assist on the power play. That was good for him.
On having to fill in for the missing guys: Obviously we were missing quite a few key players, but we knew coming into this game that the older guys had to step up and lead by example and I think that’s what we did. The younger guys followed us up and I think it was a really gutsy win for us.
On what was most impressive about the win: How we competed from the get go. We stuck to our game plan. Obviously they got a couple of easy goals on us, but we knew we just had to stick to it and battle as hard as we can and play simple and I think that’s why we got rewarded at the end.
On his goal in the third period: It was 3-3 going into the third and we knew we needed to win the period to win the game and I think we had the same attitude from the beginning of the game. Try to create some chances and get pucks to the net and it was a great play by Necas to get it out and I had a chance to do the rest.
On if the group had any concerns about playing: No, not at all. We knew we had to fight through some adversity and I think that’s what we did tonight. Some younger guys stepped up and got their first NHL points and I think those are memories that will be built upon after tonight. All part of why we got the win.
On if this was how he dreamed his first NHL game would go: Definitely. That was incredible. Really fun to get the win and obviously getting the goal was cool.
On what he was thinking before his goal: When I was getting onto the ice, I was just hoping [Kotkaniemi] could get it to me and he made an incredible pass and I was thinking about making a move at first, but I decided to just shoot it. Once I was driving to the net, I wasn’t thinking about anything. Just instinctively reacted.
On contributing to the win: It feels good. I think getting that win was big. It was a character win for the team given what’s happened over the last week or so. I think that feels good for everyone to get that win. That’s the important part and it feels good to get the two points.
On what will stand out looking back on the game: Probably that moment on the bench at the end. That was really cool. That was really special. It’s hard to put into words how that felt. I think, like I said, if we didn’t get that win there, then it’s all kind of forgotten. So it was good to get that win. We battled hard and we had a couple of key goals in the third there. It was good to get the win.
On how the Chicago Wolves are preparing players to play for the Carolina Hurricanes: I think all of our players in Chicago are really good and getting to play with a couple of them tonight made it easy. It felt seamless. I think the culture we have in Carolina blends down into Chicago and I think we bring that same work ethic that they do up here and try to have the same mentality that way whenever someone’s number is called, they’re ready.
On getting his family to the game: It was a scramble. I’ve got to give all the credit to all the Canes staff that helped them do it. [Mike Sundheim] and [Darren Yorke] and [Tripp Tracy] where all so helpful getting them here and I’m grateful for that because I’m sure they’ll remember this for a long time.
On jumping right back in and playing over 20 minutes: I actually felt fine. Tony and I skated pretty hard for about a week and a half there with Peter Harrold. That definitely helped me out a lot tonight and I actually felt better than I expected.
On what the win says about the team: Organizational depth, I think. It speaks volumes to the scouting staff and front office. It’s amazing. You saw Jack scoring and he was making things happen. [Poturalski] got his first NHL point. They’re not just playing and going through the motions, they’re contributing to that win. That’s exciting to see for sure.