The Carolina Hurricanes keep finding ways to win. Thanks to goals from Dougie Hamilton and Nino Niederreiter and 25 saves from Alex Nedeljkovic Sunday night, the team topped the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 for its eighth straight victory.
Niederreiter, Hamilton, Nedeljkovic and rod Brind’Amour all spoke to the media after the game, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On the penalty kill: The penalty kill was really solid. Obviously that was the difference in the hockey game. We had the one [shorthanded goal], we could have had a couple. Some of our best chances came shorthanded. I think [Jordan Martinook] had two two-on-ones and then Dougie gets one. We always talk about it. Special teams are a huge part of the game. We were definitely good tonight there.
On Alex Nedeljkovic: The goaltending is so important. That positive is pivotal. You’ve got to have it. It gives the whole group a lot of confidence when you know your goalie can bail you out of some crazy situations or things that don’t work out. You make mistakes, the goalie covers for you, you don’t hear about it. So he’s been good, and I’m happy for him. He’s put in his time, so really happy for him.
On Dougie Hamilton’s first career shorthanded goal: I was surprised, because he’s always in the play, whether it’s power play, shorthanded, he’s always looking to jump in there. His instincts are what make him special, and then that shot of his came through there. It was a huge play in that game.
On staying patient: We talk about it all the time. When you’re a young team, you worry, because guys always want to score. They always want to try to make something happen every shift. I think we’re learning still, but we’re coming out of that, where we can be comfortable in a 0-0 game. It’s OK if we haven’t scored yet. You have to be patient in your game, trust it that we’re fine in that kind of game. That’s how it was tonight. There wasn’t a ton of room, but we were fine. We were playing well, we weren’t giving up a ton, and that’s how it is in this league. The more we can think that way, the better we’re going to be.
On what has been coming together for the team: Everybody’s chipping in and that’s been the key to our success. Everybody’s stepping up the way they have to and tonight was definitely the way we needed to play to beat that team. They’re a good team and it was a hard fought fight.
On being patient in their game: They’re a hard working team and we knew coming in that it wasn’t going to be easy. They play hard and pretty simple and we had to match their energy level. The way they played, we knew we had to get pucks in deep and eventually either we or they were going to break down and I think we did a good job of making them bend.
On his goal: There was a lot of similarity to a chance in the second period I believe were Aho dropped to me and I kind of decided to pass it back to him because I figured that was the play. So the next time I kind of waited there seeing if the D was going to come to me, but he stayed with [Aho] and I had plenty of time to pick a corner and I’m glad it went in.
On the key to his bounce-back year: There’s some sort of luck as a part of it. Sometimes things don’t go your way and you hold your stick too tight, but sometimes things go the way you want them to go. This year has definitely been a better start than I had last season and that definitely helps a lot.
On Hamilton scoring his first ever career shorthanded goal: It’s good that you mention that. I had no idea. But he looked like he had done it before so it was a great shot by him and great patience. What a way to bury it.
On feeling more comfortable as he gets more games under his belt: Absolutely. I think a lot of it too is guys doing a good job in front of me. Trying to give me good lanes and letting me see the puck or just helping me out at times when I’m leaving rebounds. Tonight was a great game and from the get go we were ready to play. I think that was key. They’re a tough team when you just look at where they are in the standings and they can really kind of hurt you because everybody at this level can play. Tonight was a good win for us.
On Hamilton getting his first career shorthanded goal: It was his first? I thought that maybe he would have had a few more. You see it in practice and you guys see it in games, it’s not surprising at all. He’s a great player, he’s got a great mind for the offense, especially on the power play and there on the kill. He’s responsible in our end and he capitalized on an opportunity.
On what he’s learned from the other goalies on the roster: It’s been great working with [Reimer] and [Mrazek]. Just really good guys. Coming in and stepping in, whether it’s been [Mrazek] fistbumping me after games and wins or [Reimer] saying something positive after a loss. Whatever it is, it hasn’t been a scenario where you’ve got a young or inexperienced guy in the league coming in and the two vets are just kind of doing their own thing.
It’s like I’ve been here for the last three years along with everybody. It’s been really good and it’s been like that across the board. That is what has been key for other guys stepping into the lineup. Guys who have been here all year, they treat us like we’ve been here for 10 years. It’s great. The environment in the room is amazing.
On similarities between the championship team in Charlotte and this one: I see a lot of similarities. The locker room is amazing. When we’re there, everybody’s just chit-chatting or poking fun at somebody. The mood is really relaxed and fun, but when we get on the ice, it’s time to work. You try to come ready and prepared for games as best you can and there’s talent up and down the lineup. That’s what we had in Charlotte. There were four lines that could score goals like we have here. We had three sets of defensemen where all six could move the puck and skate and if they wanted to they could play the power play or the penalty kill. It’s just there’s only so much ice time to go around. You can’t play everybody all the time. There’s a lot of similarities and it’s been a good run so far, but we’ve got a long way to go.
On if he thinks about what will happen when Mrazek is healthy and ready: It’s on my mind, but at the end of the day, I have to worry about what I can control. That’s coming to the rink every day ready to work and making it a tough decision for them. At the same time, I want to do well personally. Going out there and me not having a good game or just not being satisfied with the way I played regardless of the outcome and what everybody else thinks, I hold myself to a certain standard. Whatever decision is made when that time comes, that’s the decision that has to be made and we’ll just go from there.
On if he’s feeling more confident with pucks going in for him: I mean yeah. It’s just how it works. I’m a defenseman, so just trying to get into opportunities to score. Sometimes you don’t get those and sometimes you do. I had a couple of posts and crossbars earlier and now a couple have gone in. It’s just the way it works. You’ve just gotta keep trying to get opportunities and I think that’s the biggest thing. Whether it goes in or not I’m not really worried about that. It’s more trying to get into the spots to get those looks.
On what he’s seen from Nedeljkovic: He’s obviously a really good goalie. He has a lot of skill. Moves really well, plays the puck really well which helps our team out with breaking out the puck. He’s got a lot of confidence. I think he’s probably feeling good about his game. He’s pretty calm off the ice and when he’s in the net, so it’s been great for our team. I’m really happy for him.
On if it’s taken him a little bit longer to get into the flow after missing so much time last year: I don’t really think about it too much. I just try to worry about every day. I’m not really thinking about the start of the season right now. Just trying to play well when the games come up and recover on the next day and be ready to play the next one. You guys can talk about my scoring or whatever, but I’m not really too worried about it. Just trying to play well and help the team out. Obviously I want to help out offensively because I can, but I’m just trying to do my best at that. It comes and sometimes it doesn’t. Just trying to help the team out in whatever ways I can.
On what he’s seen from the team on why they’ve been so successful: We’re playing well obviously. We’ve had a lot of power play scoring which has been huge for us. There’s not that much five-on-five offense, especially with the defense, but our forwards make great plays and score goals that way. We’re playing really well and we’re working hard. There’s been some games where we played well and scored some goals and won those games, but finding ways to win, good teams can play when they’re not the best and still find ways to win and we’re doing that. I think we have confidence in our group that we can win every game if we play our style and play our game. We’re doing well with that.