The Canes were fortunate to take a 1-0 lead after a poor start against Tampa Bay Monday night, but ultimately didn’t play well enough to win in a 4-2 loss.
Rod Brind’Amour, Jake Bean and Jesper Fast spoke to the media after the loss, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On Tampa coming with a big push early: That’s exactly what we said was going to happen, thought was going to happen. We tried to prepare for it, but obviously we weren’t’ ready to go from the start. You’ve got to give their team credit, that’s the Stanley Cup champs. They took it to us in the first period and we were really fortunate to be ahead. But I give my guys a lot of credit, because they realized it as a group. I think from that point on, the second and third period, we were certainly right there with them, if not maybe even better. We certainly had the bulk of the chances in the third. But we probably got what we deserved with the start. You can’t play a 40-minute game in the NHL, and you certainly can’t play it against the best team in the NHL.
On preparing for Tampa to make a push: We were scrambling, that’s for sure. You have a game plan going in, and that goes out the window. You know basically everybody’s just off. That happens. When you’re playing this many games, we probably get a little feeling good. It’s not that much, it’s just a little bit from every guy. But when every guy is just that much, that’s what it looks like in the first period. But you’ve got to give our guys credit for digging in after that, waking up. At least we gave them a game. It’s too bad we didn’t get anything out of it. We made one little mistake that cost us in the third. But you’ve got to play a 60-minute game.
On scoring on the power play: We’ve got good players. And I think they work hard. We’ve got a lot of skill out there too. We got one tonight. We really got two the way I look at it, because one was right at the end of the power play. But we gave up one, so it kind of cancelled out there. But it’s the game now. You’ve got to have good special teams for sure.
On Tampa’s physicality with the hits on Brock McGinn and Martin Necas, and the Canes’ response: I’m trying to remember the hits. I can’t even really remember them, to be honest with you. I know the one at the end there [McGinn] was hurt there for a little bit. It’s physical. We had some big hits the last game. It’s part of it, two teams going at it. I don’t know what you mean about response. I thought we had a great response. We threw everything at them in the third period. We had six shots in the first period, and we ended up with [30-6]. So we definitely had a response, you just can’t play a 40-minute game against this team.
On the Canes seeing where they are in the third game of this series: I think we know where we’re at. I’m happy with where we’re at. You’ve got to remember we’re playing one of the best, if not the best team in hockey. They’re going to have their moments. There’s just no way around it. Like I said, we were a little off at the start, but then we built a game after that, and I think we went head to head with them after that. But they were the better team overall, and that’s why they got the two points.
On Jesper Fast: I think he’s just more comfortable with how we do things and the system. You can still see there’s some hesitation at times, maybe. I think once he really gets comfortable in what we expect or how we play, you’re going to see more of that like you did tonight. He was really good.
On the biggest difference between Saturday’s game and Monday’s: They came out way harder than we did. We were on our heels. We weren’t ready the first period. That kind of hurt us. You’ve got to play a complete game against a team like this, and we didn’t do that tonight.
On getting his first goals for Carolina: Of course you want to have a win when you score a goal. Of course getting the first one, it’s always good to get on the scoresheet. I am trying to focus on playing the right way, and when you play good usually the goals and points come. I feel like I’m starting to get my game where I want it to be. That’s usually when you get some success.
On the key to getting wins when you play against a team so many times in a row: We’ve got to play our game. It’s been a success so far. We know when we play a hard-nosed game, play the right way that we are a very hard team to beat. We’ve just got to be consistent with that.
On if this is what they expected from Tampa Bay and on if they were glad to weather the storm at the beginning: Yeah, I think you’re totally right. We knew they were going to come out a little bit different than they did the night before. It may have looked like we weathered it, but [James Reimer] took most of the brunt there. We didn’t come out the way we needed to, especially with what we knew they were going to come with. We got lucky in the first to come out of it. We just need to be better.
On if he’s starting to feel more comfortable: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve never been one to just be able to step in and just be super confident right off the bat. I usually grow up pretty naturally, so hopefully I can continue to do that and help us win games.
On if he’s been told to be active offensively: No, I haven’t been told to be more offensive. I always want to get as much as I can towards the net. Tonight, I got some pucks where I was able to make some moves and get pucks to the net. I’m always looking to generate offense as best I can, and tonight it fell in my hands pretty nicely.
On if it’s important for Carolina to respond to this game like Tampa Bay responded to Saturday’s: Yeah, absolutely. They are the defending champions. They earned that title for a reason. We need to kind of show what we’ve got here. We know we can play the way that we need to play. We’ve just got to do that on a night in and night out basis, and we’ve got another shot to do that here soon.