The Hurricanes will look to match their franchise best win streak with a ninth straight victory in Detroit Tuesday night. James Reimer will be between the pipes, and there will be no other lineup changes.
Rod Brind’Amour, Sebastian Aho and Brock McGinn spoke to the media following Tuesday’s morning skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On the Canes’ team chemistry: This whole year, the challenge was going to be that chemistry, was going to be getting guys together. Because that’s that winning element, that little extra factor when guys play hard for each other. It’s hard to cultivate that in this environment, I guess is the best way to put it. I think our guys have done a nice job of, when we do get together, which is in practice, it’s really the only time they’re on the ice together. They seem to enjoy each other’s company, and I don’t know if it’s showing on the ice or not, but I think it is.
On if the players embrace the time on the ice: It’s partially why you do practice sometimes when you maybe don’t necessarily have to. Even today, coming down, there’s no real reason to go on the ice, but it felt like just get out of the hotel and get together, be around each other, I think is positive.
On Vincent Trocheck: I really couldn’t answer that until we get back. I knew he wasn’t going to make the trip, and I think when we get back we’ll have a clearer understanding of what’s going on.
On the power play: Confidence helps when you see a couple pucks go in and you start feeling it. Instead of forcing plays, sometimes you take an extra second to make a play. I feel like we’ve been doing a pretty good job getting those second and third pucks back to us and keeping the pressure in their zone, and obviously try to shoot pucks at the net as much as possible.
On what he likes about this team: I like a lot. It’s just such a fun group. We have good times when we are together and obviously this year is a little tougher when you can’t do much. So I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job still trying to check in on each other, just trying to create that good atmosphere in the locker room. I like many things, and obviously on the ice, we’ve been pretty successful when we just go out there, play our system, trust it and work hard.
On the two-game series: I don’t mind these two-game back to backs at all. It is less travel, so especially this year, I think it was a good thing to do it this way. Obviously it’s nice playing a little different teams. Obviously the past few years, we’ve been playing a lot of the same division teams and now we get a little different teams against us. So I think it’s a good thing for us. It’s nice to play against other teams, too.
On developing rivalries: I don’t know, you tell me. I think that’s more media and fans. Obviously there’s been some intense hockey and you play [eight times] against each other, so there’s good matchups, but it’s tough to say, we’ll see.
On if this group would be closer under normal circumstances: I don’t know, it’s hard to say. I think we have a lot of the same players from past years on our team. Every new guy seems to fit perfectly. There’s great guys we add on in the offseason. I like our mentality that we’re having fun when we’re not playing hockey, but as soon as we start playing hockey, it’s all about work. That’s the best part.
On if the team is having fun on the ice: I think that’s part of a confidence thing and trusting ourselves and our system. Obviously it’s more fun to win and it makes it easier, but behind those wins there’s always a lot of work, and our mentality is that every night work comes first and hopefully we succeed.
On possibly finishing at the top of the standings: Yeah, end of the regular season, but we still haven’t been halfway through the season. So you can’t really pay too much attention to that stuff. You still have to do the same thing. You try to win every night and do your job. Hopefully we make the playoffs and obviously if you’re in first place you get home ice.
On playing two-game series against the same teams: I don’t know if it’s about preparation. I think you kind of see the tendencies in the team if you play them back-to-back games. I think you learn a little bit, and you kind of just take that into the next game and try to prepare the best way you can, and I think for us, we just have to stay with that mindset that we have to go out there and play our game, and we can’t get away from it.
On not having as much travel: It’s kind of nice that way. You’re not really flying after games as much, and so I think the rest factor is kind of nice in that aspect. But either way, we just have to come out and win games.
On the Hurricanes at the halfway point: I think the first half, we’re finding ways to win games, and I think it’s not always our best hockey when we’re doing so. I think we’ve just got to learn through the next half of the season that we’ve got to play a full 60. I think that’s the way you’re going to win in the playoffs and that’s the way you’re going to win championships is if you play a complete game.
So I think over the first half, I think that’s one thing that we’ve really got to focus on, is we just can’t get away from our style and get away from our game where we’re giving them those chances come the other way off our errors where we kind of want to just limit that and stick to our style.
On the power play: I think they’re just playing with a lot of confidence. I think they move the puck around and I think they communicate so well. They have a game plan going out each time where they know what they’re going to do and what’s open. So I think having that mindset for them is really big, and they all just stick on the same page and know what they’re doing.
On scoring on the penalty kill: I don’t know if that’s the mindset. We kind of want to just kill off the penalty first and if we do get those opportunities like we did last game, that’s a bonus. But I think our mindset is just getting out of our zone, getting it down 200 feet. We can’t really focus on going out there with the mindset that we’re going to score goals on the penalty kill. So we have to keep the pressure on and just keep the way that we’re doing.