The Hurricanes will look to extend their winning streak to three games and their point streak to five games tonight with a big-time showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team they currently trail by three points (with a game in hand) for first place in the Central Division.
Rod Brind’Amour, Jordan Staal and Brock McGinn spoke to the media following today’s morning skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On getting up to play Tampa Bay: I don’t know if it’s any more than any other game. You’ve got to win every game, but this is obviously the cream of the crop. The test doesn’t get any better than this. So that’s the challenge, and that’s obviously something everybody should be getting up for.
On if Vincent Trocheck is close: I don’t really have an answer for you there. That’s a medical question. He’s got to clear a bunch of tests and hurdles and things. It almost doesn’t even matter how he’s feeling on this one. It’s a little different than some other guys. As of right now, it’s encouraging that he’s out there, because whenever he does get the green light, he can probably get right into it. I can’t tell you when that would be.
On James Reimer starting in net: He’s going. He’s played really well, and [Alex Nedeljkovic]’s played well. [Reimer] has been sitting for a little while now, so we’ll get him back into action and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
On Sebastian Aho’s production: We need that. We’re missing two huge parts of our team. That doesn’t get talked about enough, for me. That’s a big, huge hole that is there with [Trocheck] and [Teuvo Teravainen] out. Somebody had to pick up slack somewhere, or we were going to be in big trouble. He’s done it. [Martin Necas] has done it. We’ve had everyone at different times stepping up and producing, and that’s what we’re going to have to do until we get these guys back.
On the trade deadline: The way I would look at it is, if we know these guys are going to be back, that’s almost like adding two guys, because they’ve been out so long. I don’t know why you would tinker too much more than that if we know we’re getting them back. I think it’s a different story if maybe they’re not coming back. I think our group’s fine, and I would love to just keep it the way it is.
On getting up to play Tampa: I think there’s a little bit. I think you want to go out there and win those games. I think they’re a very skilled team. It’s two teams going at it who play a similar style. They’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and I know you’ve got to get up for these games. Hopefully our team comes out ready for sure.
On getting to play a different team after four straight against Columbus: I think we’ve done this a couple times. I think it’s kind of a regular thing right now, you’re kind of in mini playoff series, so it’s definitely something you’ve got to look at the video and just kind of look at their tendencies. As we played Columbus, you start to really figure them out, and it’s just learning each other. So I think just coming in and playing a different team, we’ve just got to keep the same mindset bar and just go out there and play our game.
On not having injured guys in the lineup: I don’t think from the very start of the year we’ve had everybody in the lineup. So I think that has been our mentality this year, just that there’s going to be situations where things pop up, whether it’s with COVID or injuries. I think we’ve just had that next-man in mentality. I think everybody who comes into our lineup really plays our game plan. They work every night, and right now it’s working.
On Eric Staal being traded from Buffalo to Montreal and if he’s talked to him: Just a few texts, I’m going to call him today. I think he’s got his drive to Montreal today. He’s excited for a fresh start and hopefully the chance to make a push for himself and for the team.
On if this season has been different with the condensed schedule: I wouldn’t say it’s been much different than a full season. We’ve just been playing hockey. It’s been a lot of hockey, but obviously finishing the season with as many games as we can is what they wanted. We’ve been fortunate with keeping the bodies together on this team. We want to continue that, take care of ourselves and finish strong.
On playing against Tampa Bay: They’re Stanley Cup defending champs for a reason. They’re a team that is a team we’re chasing in the standings and chasing to be what they just did last year. They have a great squad, they do all the things right. They play fast. They’re physical, they grind. But they’ve got skill, and they’re a team that we’re definitely making sure that we’re at our best. Otherwise we’re not going to find a way to win if we’re not at our best.