The Carolina Hurricanes will look to start an eight-game homestand on the right foot with a visit from the Dallas Stars Saturday night.
Rod Brind’Amour, Nino Niederreiter and Brett Pesce spoke to the media following the team’s morning skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On Dallas: For sure. All these teams, everybody’s fighting for spots. We’re obviously running out of runway. I think you’re going to see the best out of them tonight, and I expect a real tight battle game.
On Jesper Fast missing the morning skate: He’ll be in tonight. We just needed to give him a little more time. You don’t need a practice at this point of the year, but he’ll be ready tonight.
On Alex Nedeljkovic winning rookie of the month: You hope that it reflects your team whenever a goalie gets noted for good play. You hope your team’s playing good in front of him. But it also means he’s got to be making some saves at critical times. So I think that’s more a reflection of him winning that award was the timely saves to keep us in games and allow us to play our game. So that award, for sure, is well earned by him.
On special teams: I always go day by day with that. We haven’t scored in a couple games, but we’ve had one power play in each game. So you can throw it right out the window on that. Penalty kill’s been fine. I thought we were good in Chicago. We gave up one, but it was a really fluky kind of situation. Every night on the special teams is regardless of where you are in the standings, it’s irrelevant. How are you tonight? That’s all that matters.
On Petr Mrazek: He’s not playing tonight. It’s getting close, obviously. I think he had a good tune up the other night. We’ll definitely see if we need a couple more practices at the high pace. We’re still monitoring that, but obviously we’re right around the corner. That’s exciting. We know he’s big part of what we need to do. It’s encouraging that we know he’s coming around the corner.
On Andrei Svechnikov: It’s tough, right? It’s the NHL. Everybody knows who he is now. There’s no sneaking up. You watch how hard they play against him, and he’s battling. Every player goes through stretches where the puck maybe doesn’t go in, and there’s times where you fight it a little. He’s a young kid, and he puts so much pressure on himself. That doesn’t really help. But it’s hard to talk him out of that. He wants to do so well. He’s been fine. Is there another level? Yeah, for sure. I think we can get to it with him, but everybody goes through little times where it doesn’t always work out. He’s definitely in one of those.
On having success against Dallas: It’s definitely going to be different games now against Dallas. They’re a desperate team, they’re having a big playoff push right now. So we know what to expect. We’ve got to focus on us at the end of the day. We know how good they are, and we know how good we can be, so we’ve got to make sure we bring our best.
On playing with Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas: Obviously they’re both terrific players. [Aho], he seems like he does all the little things right. That’s why he’s been successful. He’s a terrific player, definitely one of the better players in the league. So it’s definitely fun playing with him.
On the eight-game homestand: It’s definitely huge. Obviously winning tonight gives us a good chance to be the top seed, I believe. So that’s something we’ve got to focus on, try to go all the way and don’t take a breath. I think that’s very important to start the homestand with a good win.
On Petr Mrazek: I think everybody’s excited when the guys are getting back in the lineup. He’s working hard and does everything it takes to get back. It’s definitely very exciting for him. But at the end of the day, we’ve had some great goaltending already, so it obviously makes us a lot stronger when he comes back as well.
On Dallas: For sure. We kind of had a whole meeting about that this morning, just kind of how they’re playing. They definitely have that desperation factor in their game. They’re playing really good right now. They’re playing hard, they’re playing physical. They’ve got some skill up front and obviously on the back end. It’s going to be a good test.
On Petr Mrazek: It’s just another layer for our team and another strong point. Obviously Petr, everyone knows what he’s capable of and how good of a goalie he is. Just to add a player back of that caliber is going to be huge.
On playing on Easter: I think it’s just kind of part it, especially this year, with how condensed the season is and how many games we’re playing in such a short time. It’s kind of a one off.
On playing against Joe Pavelski: You’ve just got to stay as tight you can to him as possible. You’ve got to have his stick, but most importantly, you can’t just be on him, you’ve got to get under his stick and actually try to take his stick out of the play, just because if he gets that little space, he’s probably going to redirect it. So he’s definitely a guy to look out for.