The Hurricanes pulled out their third straight win Tuesday night with a 4-2 win in Nashville, thanks in large part to a pair of goals from Sebastian Aho, Steven Lorentz’s first NHL goal and 35 saves from James Reimer.
Lorentz, Aho, Reimer and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media after the win, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On Steven Lorentz and if you could say he’s an example for every young player: How could you not? He’s done everything right. Really, he could have had a few more goals here already by this time. He’s had a lot of good chances, and it was nice to see him get that one, obviously. He’s a great kid, and he works hard. You root for guys like that.
On if there’s concern about the third-period play: None. I’m happy. We won. We dominated for two periods. The other team gets paid a lot of money. And they’re going to come out and play hard in the third period. I’ll take this all day long. Three in four nights, travel, getting in at 3 in the morning, there’s absolutely zero to be negative about.
On James Reimer: At the end, when they were on full court press and they were coming at us, he made two or three great stops. Any successful team’s going to have goaltending that comes up big when they need it, and that’s what we had tonight.
On Steven Lorentz: You feel good for the guy. A guy who works hard and does everything for the team. He’s a great kid. I’m sure he’ll play many, many years in this league just because of his attitude and his work mentality. You’re really, really happy for the guy.
On the grind of the season and if tonight was hard due to the back-to-back and amount of games played recently: To be honest, I felt better today than yesterday. I don’t know why. It’s tough, but it’s tough for everyone I feel like. It’s a tight schedule. It’s a mental thing. I don’t think the issue is the physical side because we have way less travel and stuff like that, so I feel that it’s more of a mental grind. If you can prepare yourself every night, then you’ll feel fine and I think that’s what happened today. We were really good in the first two periods especially. We were ready to battle and the guys were flying out there.
On growing chemistry with Martin Necas: He’s a great player. You just know with those little give-and-goes that if I pass to him, he’s going to look for me back. If he passes it to me, I’m going to look for him back. It’s just one of those little things, just trusting in your linemate out there. I kind of know how he thinks the game and that definitely helps. It was a great pass by him today.
On if his first goal was everything he thought it would be: Yes, it was. I think we just made a good play coming into the offensive zone there. We caught a break there with their defenseman falling down. We just did a good job of throwing it at the net. It went up into the air and I found the loose puck and was fortunate enough to put it on net. I know he’s a big goalie so I just tried to raise it and it found a corner. I’m so happy it went in. i don’t remember what happened afterwards. I don’t really know what I did, but the boys were telling me that I was pretty excited and that I celebrated big. I’m happy we were able to stave them off at the end there. They did make a bit of a late push, but Reimer did a great job of holding us in there. We’re happy to come away with the two points and end this road trip.
On James Reimer joking that he let in a few goals to make his goal the game winner: He said something there afterwards and made a little joke. It’s just the kind of guy he is. He’s just gonna let in a few to let me have the game winner. He said that I owe him something. But, no. He really did play such a great game and we did have a few lapses throughout later in the second and into the third period, but he’s been such a rock for us. He stood on his head and he made some big saves. We’re obviously very happy to end this road trip on a positive note.
On getting closer and closer to that first goal and gaining confidence: I think our line has done a really good job in the Really since day one, I think with Rod showing his trust in me and playing me for more minutes than... I don’t want to say more than I deserve, but he really put some trust in me since the word ‘Go’ and whether some nights I’ve earned them or others not so much, he’s done a good job coaching me throughout the whole time. The fact that he puts me out there for some of those minutes in key situations, it really gives me some confidence moving forward. It gives me confidence whether in the o-zone or d-zone and in carrying the puck.past four to five games just sustaining some offensive zone pressure. We’re an energy line and we’ve done a good job creating some energy. Some of the other guys have gotten on the scoresheet lately, [Martinook] and [Paquette] both have goals this season, but it was only a matter of time before our line chipped in offensively again and tonight we were fortunate to do so. The fourth line, we’ve just got to keep buzzing and keep creating the energy that we’ve been doing. I’m happy with tonight’s performance.
On if there was ever any doubt for him in reaching the NHL: I don’t really want to say there was doubt. I think there were some times where I kind of put things up in the air and just questioned how things would play out, but I don’t like looking at things too long term. I just kept things in my perspective that I could control. When I got sent to the ECHL, I could have just hung my head and pouted, but I think I really just wanted to stick with it and learn from the great group of guys that we had playing in that East Coast league. I learned from some great players on that team and I just gained some experience and pointers along the way. I just feel like I’ve done that at every level. It’s just so much fun to come to the rink everyday and again with putting things in perspective, I get to play hockey everyday. You come to the rink and learn from the best players in the world and that just motivates you to be better and better and then when young guys come up through the ranks, then it’s your turn to pass on that knowledge too. I’ve gotten some tremendous help along the way and again I’m so happy to be here in this situation and being able to contribute tonight was just the cherry on top.
On his linemates: You know what each of those guys brings to the table every night. They’re not going to get too fancy and you expect them to get pucks in and out to the lines. It’s cliche, but that’s our job. We can’t be turning pucks over. Anytime we get offensive zone shifts or sustained pressure, or we create energy which is our role, that’s a positive for us. We’ve done that a lot lately and I think our matchups against the other team’s fourth lines, we’ve really dominated them some nights. That’s something we need to just keep rolling with and building on every night. With each passing game you get to know some guys’ tendencies and it makes it easier to play with those guys. They were very happy for me when that puck went in. They knew how bad I wanted it. I’ve had some chances these past few games that haven’t gone in, so it makes me so happy to know those guys are all excited for me too. The team comradery here is just so nice. Everyone is just one big family, so it’s nice to be a part of and it’s nice to contribute.
On giving up a couple so Lorentz could have a game-winning goal: That was the game plan going into the third. Obviously he got his first one, so that’s special, but you always want it to be the game winner. So I knew I had to let two in, so that was the plan.
On what went so well for him: This team, they really have a workhorse mentality. They have a good forecheck and they can cycle the puck. They get it up top and you get guys crashing the net. So I think as a goalie, you have to fight to try and get to your sightlines and get those lanes so you can see it. Usually as a goalie, when you’re seeing it, it’s a result of how well your teammates are battling in front of you to clear guys out, tie up sticks and create those lanes for you. So the guys are working incredibly hard right now. Obviously our schedule is pretty tough and back to back with travel. It was kind of an old school back-to-back. The guys just dug in and left everything on the ice. I’m really proud of them.
On third periods: I think we’d rather win 10-0, but you never like to give up leads in the third. You want to be a team that when you’re up going into the third, it’s lights out for your opponent. You want them to be defeated before they even touch the ice for the third. But it doesn’t always work out that way. There’s a lot of parity in the league, two good teams and a lot of pride too. So you kind of know with a team down 3-0, they’re going to throw everything. They started to gain a little momentum, and we bent but didn’t break. The character we have in here to dig and dig and dig no matter what, if you’re up by three or you’ve lost the lead, it’s incredible. Tonight, we found a way, and I think when it comes down to it that’s the most important thing.
On the challenges of the schedule: One thing that’s hard, and maybe it’s harder for goalies, I’ve never been a forward or a d man so I’ll let them answer that, I think sometimes is a lack of practice time. Because you’re playing so much, obviously you need your rest so you can perform for the games. We don’t practice much, and I think for a goalie, you’re always trying to work on your technical game, being sharp and being solid. So we’ve done a good job finding those times to make sure we can get some work in, but usually we have a couple practices a week, and now we get one practice in one week. So I think that’s one of the hard things about having a lot of games.
On Steven Lorentz: He’s an awesome guy. He’s definitely one of the good guys. He’s humble and he works hard. He does what he’s told and he’s always willing to listen and learn. So along with that, he’s got a ton of skill and uses his size well. He’s got some good speed too. So he’s awesome and it’s big for us to have him on the team. But back end of back to backs, that’s where the young legs going. The young guys have the fresh young legs, so they can be buzzing out there and carrying the veteran guys. That’s always sometimes the joke, so he did his part tonight.