The Hurricanes snatched victory from the jaws of defeat Monday night in Florida, thanks to a game-winning overtime goal and two assists from Martin Necas, 46 saves from Alex Nedeljkovic, late, game-tying goal from Vincent Trocheck and power-play goal from Brett Pesce.
Pesce, Nedeljkovic, Necas and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media after the win, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On Martin Necas: We were obviously on our heels, so he got lost in the shuffle a little bit there. But obviously when we needed a goal, we put him out there and they came through.
On winning competitive games: They’re always good to win, no matter how you do it. Obviously that’s not how you would draw it up. The third period was a little shaky for us. We were on our heels. But I love how our guys are digging in. They seem to never quit. It looked like it was going to go the other way tonight, and we bounced back. So you’ve got to give the guys a lot of credit for digging in. Obviously it wasn’t our best third, but I thought for two periods we were really good, and deserved better. It just didn’t go our way. It’s two points, and we’ll take them.
On giving Brett Pesce power-play time: I’ve always known he could do it. Over the years, he’s always been that guy I’ve kind of thrown in when we had to use him. To be honest, the reason you don’t want to use him is just ice time. I don’t want him to have to play mega mega minutes. You start throwing power play, penalty kill, next thing you know the guy’s never off the ice. So that’s the only reason you don’t use him. But obviously with [Teuvo Teravainen] out, we’re one guy short on the power play. He’s obviously done well. So there’s no reason not to use him other than you don’t want him out there for the whole game.
On Alex Nedeljkovic, and if the team will have a tough decision when Petr Mrazek comes back: I haven’t really thought about that, to be honest with you. But it’s great to see him these last few starts. I think he’s been really sharp. Tonight, that’s one of those where you’ll look back and say that he got us the victory tonight. He kept us in the game, in the third, obviously. We hope to have those tough decisions whenever Petr gets back.
On Alex Nedeljkovic’s puck handling: That’s a great observation. Sometimes it gets him in a little trouble, there’s a couple times where he overhandles it at times.But in general, that skillset is very, very important. Getting pucks on your own, and it just makes one less forecheck that you didn’t have to deal with or maybe one less shift in your own end that accumulates over time, and that puts a lot of stress on your team. He was really sharp with that tonight.
On Vincent Trocheck scoring big goals: He’s done it for us all year. He’s logging a lot of minutes. He plays every situation now. It was a huge acquisition for us at the time, getting a player like that. You’re seeing that now. His play this year has been great.
On his overtime goal: I was full of energy for the OT. I was fresh, so I made good decisions there with [Sebastian Aho]. He made a beautiful pass. I didn’t even see how it got through, but it was right on my tape and I put it into the net there.
On Vincent Trocheck’s goal: He’s a great player. He’s always there in front of the net, in the slot. He’s always there. He just made a good play there, and he had a great shot. It was good for us, but I feel like overall we’ve got to be a little better. For me, I feel like I had a really tough game. Sometimes it is like that, and then I step out there for OT and have got to go.
On the feeling of scoring a game winner in OT: It feels good and the game’s over. It’s a good feeling. For me, I really like 3-on-3. There’s more space. You can make some skill plays. You have more space to handle the puck. It feels good. We’ve just got to do a little quick recovery now and get ready for tomorrow.
On Brett Pesce’s offensive play this year: He’s really, really good. He’s been a big part of our team. He’s probably up there not just for the scoring goals, but so far he’s been really good offensively and he’s always great defensively. It’s great that we have him, and we have a strong D corps.
On Nedeljkovic’s night: He played great. He made some big saves. I think overall with our team, we’ve got to be a little better. We feel like we didn’t play our best, but we found a way and [Nedeljkovic] was a big part of it.
On keeping it close enough to be able to tie it and win in overtime: It was a busy night, a lot of shots. I thought we did a good job, for the most part, of keeping them to the outside. At times there maybe late, I was leaving a few in the slot there up front. I was kind of making some more work there for myself than I needed to. And there were a few unlucky bounces there. I just got caught in the wrong place and the puck bounced the wrong way. But you’ve got to play through it. I think that’s what good teams do. They bounce back, and they respond. That’s what we’ve done the last few games. They’ve erased a few leads on us, and we’ve been able to respond and come out with the W.
On if there’s nights as a goaltender where you are just on and on if Monday was one of those nights: Yeah, it was just one of those nights. You do a lot of work behind the scenes preparing and getting ready and warming up and all that. You’ve got to stay sharp, make sure you are ready to go. We’re playing a lot of games in a short amount of time here. It’s easy to kind of get into a little bit of a lull and take a breath one day and not stay sharp, not do everything you need to get ready. That’s been the biggest thing for everybody; just staying sharp and being prepared to come out and play and execute.
On staying locked in when the shots are coming from the outside: Yeah, they’re not the most high-quality shots, but they’re a lot. You put some traffic, you put some big bodies. And they’ve got some big guys on that team, [Patric] Hornqvist especially. That guy has made a living just parking his butt in front of the net. It’s tough trying to find your own space and looking around those guys. The biggest thing is, like I said before, you try to stay sharp and swallow everything that you can. One shot could easily turn into two or three if you’re not sharp on those, and you’re making your job a lot harder than you need it to be.
On the lift it gives him seeing his team tie the game after he’s been pulled for the extra skater: It’s awesome. That was huge. If there was a camera on the whole bench, you’d see the guys jumping up like it was just an overtime goal. Those are huge. Especially with like I said, we found a way to respond after giving up a lead these last two nights. That’s what good teams do. That’s what we’re trying to do, and now we just have to find ways to finish it off in regulation there and tighten it up defensively at the end there.
On being a good offensive player in college and on bringing that out again: Believe it or not I did use to be kind of an offensive guy in school. I always kind of ran a power play growing up, I guess sort of like everyone though. It’s a good feeling that they trust me enough to be out there. I’m just trying to make the most out of my opportunity right now and show that I can contribute offensively.
On how bad they wanted to win this game for Nedeljkovic: He deserved a win so bad. We weren’t our best, including myself. We had a lot of breakdowns, and he was there to clean it all up. To get that win for him is huge. He does deserve more. It was huge, and it was definitely good for his confidence.
On what it says about the team to be able to win when it doesn’t play its best: Good teams find ways to win. You’re not gonna be your best for all 82, or whatever this is, 56 games. But like I said, you’ve got to find a way no matter what it is. If it takes a hot goalie to kind of bail us out a few games, then you capitalize on some of the opportunities we get offensively then so be it. It was a gutsy win, but we all know we can clean it up.
On Jake Bean’s assist on his goal: It was perfect. He put it right in my wheelhouse, and he let me just kind of fire away. It was a good pass.