Despite being without their leading scorer in Vincent Trocheck Thursday night, the Canes topped the Nashville Predators 5-1 for their seventh straight win.
A number of players stepped up with big performance, including two goals from Morgan Geekie, two assists from Jake Bean and 32 saves from James Reimer. Geekie, Bean, Reimer and rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media after the game, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On putting Morgan Geekie on the power play: Just injuries. Obviously with [Trocheck] being out, and then we had to move [Martin Necas] up to the first group. So there was a hole there, and he’s played in the past. Last year he was on that group. So it was a really easy decision, we needed a right-hand shot there.
On winning without injured players: You hope it shows that we’ve got a lot of good players and some depth. Obviously we need it right now with all the guys we have out. So it’s not ideal. You’d like to have your full group, but not many teams in the league do right now. That’s the way it is with so many games stacked in. Injuries start creeping in. You’re going to have to have depth to be successful this year.
On the possibility of having more fans for playoff games: That’s a long ways off, so it’s tough to talk about that. But we obviously would hope that things keep getting better and that’s a possibility to be talking about, that’s for sure. I think we’d all love to have fans in the building, obviously. Even with the little amount that we’re allowed in now, there’s a definite feel. You can feel the emotion a little bit. But I can only imagine it would be a pretty good day when we could pack it in here again.
On Morgan Geekie: It’s huge. You obviously don’t expect that type of performance, but obviously we needed. We’re going to need it moving forward with injuries and we’ve got a lot of key guys. Everybody has to step up a little bit. Morgan did tonight for us, and hopefully it’s another guy a different night. That’s the way it has to be.
On if March is his favorite month: My dad’s birthday is in March, so you could attribute it to that I guess. No, I guess it was just a good coincidence this year.
On how tough staying patient without playing has been: Obviously some days are better than others. The organization has been great. My teammates have been great. It’s good to watch some games from up there, get a different point of view kind of thing. You see a little bit more and slow it down. I was just going out there every day trying to get back in the lineup and do what I can.
On his chemistry with Jake Bean: Yeah, for sure. We were together in Charlotte, like you said. We actually lived together our first year in Charlotte, our first year together. It’s awesome. He’s a great player. He sees the ice really well and can definitely get pucks through. Kudos to him to find a lane on the first one and find me on the second one, too. He’s a great player. He’s gonna have a great career. It’s awesome.
On the team’s ability to take over games: We were pretty opportunistic tonight, especially early. When you get up by a couple goals it’s nice, especially as a goalie. It’s nice when the boys are out there fighting for you. And then we came out in the second period and kind of dominated the game and took it over. We didn’t really give them a sniff. I think that’s what you want to do. Even if it’s by one goal, but especially if it’s by a couple, you just want to keep on them and keep them in the pocket and keep grinding and shove it down their throat. Take away any easy ones and their will to keep going.
On what it says about the team to dominate a game like this without some key players: At the same time we have to look at their team, too. They’re missing a few key guys too, right? That kind of seems like the story of this year. There’s gonna be adversity. You’re gonna be missing big players. It’s just a matter of who wants it more, or who wants to play their game better. I thought tonight we obviously came out and got a couple ones early and took over for the last 40. I thought we played our structure really well. I think that’s what it takes. When you’re missing guys, you’ve got to play your game. I thought we did that pretty well tonight.
On how he is holding up with the condensed schedule: When you’re splitting [time], the workload isn’t too bad. You get your rest and you’re ready when you get back in there. A condensed schedule is tough. I think I mentioned it after the last Nashville game, but I think what’s hardest is not being able to make tweaks in your game if there’s something you think is a little off or what not. You get in what you can, but it’s definitely not the amount that you would in past years. I think the condensed schedule really takes that away from your coaching staff and the technical side of your game.
On seeing Morgan Geekie get two goals and the chemistry they have together: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously we played together in the American League, and he played that spot on the power play in junior and tri-city as well. He’s a good player. He’s a great player. I’m really happy to see a couple of those go in for him.
On how the team is playing right now: I think the team is playing well right now. I think what’s going well right now is that even when we’re not having great periods we are finding ways to win. Even when it’s not perfect and it’s not the way we want to play, we’re finding ways to win. That’s always a good thing. If we can put it together as much as we can, we always have a chance to win every night.
On what Morgan Geekie is going through and how he has stayed patient:I know exactly how he is feeling. He’s a very mature guy. He took it really well. He works really hard. Obviously he took his time in the American League when he went down there and took full advantage of it to get confidence. It showed tonight.
On if he was looking for Geekie’s stick on Carolina’s first goal: I knew he was there. I didn’t see his stick exactly. I knew we had two guys in front, and I didn’t have [Brett Pesce] or a guy on the right flank, so I thought I’d throw one in there. [Geekie] is a special player, so he put that in pretty nicely.