The Hurricanes grinded it out and found a way to win in a 5-3 victory Thursday night in Dallas, thanks to big goals from Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Brock McGinn and Nino Niederreiter.
Staal, Niederreiter, Brett Pesce and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media after the win, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On this being a ‘find a way to win’ game: They all are, I guess, in the end. It wasn’t pretty. I thought we came out really well, and the penalties just sucked the game right away from us. And then we kind of battled back and capitalized, really, was what I thought happened. We made some nice, high-end plays to get some goals and then kind of just buckled down. It was a gritty win.
On Nino Niederreiter: I don’t know if he looks different. He’s certainly a little more confident. Scoring early this season, I think, has helped make him feel good about his game. You’ve got to give his linemates credit. They’ve actually really helped him too. It was probably an off year last year for him. If we want to be successful, he needs to be Nino that can score goals. That’s what he’s doing right now.
On Jordan Staal: I don’t know how else to say it. I’ve been saying it forever. These plays he’s been making, they’re the same plays he’s been making over and over for years. We’re connecting on them right now. I can’t tell you how many times I’d come back in the game and ‘How did Jordo not have three points last night?’ I’ve been saying this over and over: Right now, he’s getting his due. He’s always made good plays and always had scoring opportunities. I think he’s feeling it right now too with the confidence, and that little bit of confidence is kind of what I think a lot of offensive guys, it brings it out of them. You see it right now in the plays he’s making.
On Morgan Geekie not playing in the third period: We had some tough matchups, and I just wanted to make sure I didn’t get caught on one. So we definitely had to shorten the bench in this game.
On if the win was a matter of timely goals: It was some timely goals. Nino with the big goal, obviously, to get us ahead in the third. [Brock McGinn] with a big goal heading into the third. It was not our best. We gave up way too much. We took a couple penalties in a row. It kind of hurt our momentum. We lost a few guys. We had a tough time coming back to 5-on-5. [James Reimer] just played well. He made some big, big saves and kept us in that game. We found a way to get two points.
On the offensive run he’s been having: I’ve been getting some good bounces. I felt good coming into the season. I thought I had a strong offseason. It’s nice to pop a few in early and get the confidence going, much like a few guys on our team; [Niederreiter] and [McGinn]. I’m just feeling confident and playing well. I’m just trying to ride it the best I can. And obviously playing with some talented players. [Andrei Svechnikov] made a great pass tonight. I’m getting the opportunity to play with some special players that create a lot of offense. I’m glad I’m checking out on it a little bit.
On how the team played overall and on if it’s just the kind of game you have to find a way to win: Yeah, we were flirting with disaster, and that’s not how we want to play. We knew that. It’s never going to be perfect every night. Good teams find ways to win. We did grind a bit. We found ways to create some offense. And like I said, some timely goals. We found a way to get two points. It wasn’t pretty. We could be better in a lot of situations, take less penalties and all of those things. But, we’re happy with a win.
On trying to get an advantage on a team in the first game of these two-game stretches: That’s exactly what I’m making sure the boys understand. That next game, we can’t sit on cruise control just because we won the first one. We can’t expect just to hope to win another game. You know they are going to come out even harder with a better effort. I feel like we’ve let too many home-and-home or on the road slip away from us. We’ve got to be even better next game, obviously. We’ve got to find ways to win both the games and get the four points. That’s how you move up the standings.
On Brock McGinn’s goal late in the second: That was definitely the most important goal of the night. I think [Staal] already said enough about how we didn’t play too well in the first two periods. Obviously getting that goal was huge just to be in that game. At the end of the day, Reimer stood on his head, and he helped us out big time tonight.
On the importance of contributing after taking two penalties in a game: At the end of the day, it’s always very frustrating taking penalties. It’s a fine line between playing too hard and trying to do too, too much. I think sometimes that has happened. Obviously, I never want to be in the box. Nobody does. Obviously it’s frustrating taking two of them because we already take enough penalties. That’s something I told myself, just to make sure I stayed out of the box. But obviously it’s great just to get something back for the team.
On his breakaway goal: My whole momentum was going to my backhand, so as soon as I went there I thought ‘OK, now is the time to move back to my forehand.’ There’s so many decisions that go through your head when you go on a breakaway. There’s so many things to think about. Do I shoot? Do I go on my backhand? What do I do? I was trying to make him bite and make a quick move at the end, and hopefully it works out. I’m glad it did.
On coming back from shoulder surgery and not missing a beat: Yeah, you know what, I actually think I feel more confident than ever, with my shoulder that is. It was a little bit unstable there for a few years. I put all my trust in the doctor who opened me up. It just feels sturdy. I feel good out there.
On this being a game where they just needed to find a way to win: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like great teams find ways to win, even if you don’t have your best. I’m glad that we’re pulling two points out of these games, but it’s just more encouraging that we have that much more to give. When we put it all together, we’re going to be a more serious threat.
On if he feels more confident offensively: Not really. I think I’m just getting a little lucky right now, to be honest. I’m just doing what I can to kind of get pucks through as best I can. In this league, the amount of times a guy is going to score a pretty goal, it’s so rare. It happens in the dirty areas. If you can get the puck to the net and create a rebound, good things tend to happen.