The Hurricanes celebrated the return of Petr Mrazek in fine fashion Sunday night, picking up a 1-0 win in a 28-save shutout for the Czech netminder.
Jordan Martinook scored the Canes’ lone goal on a slick feed from Vincent Trocheck. Trocheck, Mrazek and Martinook spoke to the media after the victory, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say.
On Petr Mrazek: He was pretty good. He didn’t have a lot of work for two, and then, when we needed him, he was there in the last five minutes. He made three or more spectacular, especially weird ones that went in that he couldn’t see. They weren’t grade-As, necessarily, but they were coming from angles and screens. He fought through it. He was good, obviously.
On Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness being pulled due to COVID protocol: I did notice that he wasn’t there. I wasn’t 100% sure what for, so we obviously weren’t told anything. It’s been a concern all year. It’s a reminder, again, that we’ve got to keep doing the right things.
On Jordan Martinook: That’s how we expect it to go. We need contributions from everybody at different times. You’ve got your usual suspects that you rely on more, but we need everyone to contribute some way. Tonight it was him with the goal. [Trocheck] makes a great play on it. There were a lot of really good plays tonight. Our defense was really solid. Our back end, all those guys just did a good job in really limiting what they were doing.
On Brady Skjei: He was solid tonight, for sure. He could have had a couple goals. He made some great offensive plays tonight. Their goalie played great. You’ve got to him a lot of credit. He held them in it, really, to give them a chance. But [Skjei] was really good tonight, defending, obviously, but he was really good in the offense. He created a lot of opportunities.
On if these are games that can help the Hurricanes going forward: I thought those were two really good games. I know we didn’t get the result last night, but really I thought that was just as good a game as this one as far as the way we played it. That’s what we’re going to have to do. It gets tough, as we know. Playoff hockey is kind of that way. You’ve got to grind. That certainly was kind of the feel in these two games.
On the goaltending situation: We’re going to take a day here and regroup on it. It’s great to know that Petr’s back as far as being sharp and there’s no questions there. He’d been out a long time. The question that’s obviously going to come is what kind of workload do you give him, and he’s got to have a few starts here to really get in the groove of playing every day or that conditioning aspect. So we’ll regroup tomorrow and kind of figure it out.
On Brock McGinn: That one doesn’t look good. He’s going to get checked out tomorrow. There’s one guy that can tell you if he comes out of a game, he’s hurt. If that guy comes out, and you saw, he actually came out, came back and tried to play. There’s nobody around since I’ve been done playing that is tougher than that kid.
On being back at PNC: It felt good. It’s been a long journey so it’s nice that I could be back in the game with the guys.
On if he felt normal or if there was rust to shake off: No, I think in the first period I was looking for it a little bit there. I was all over the place in the crease. I tried to find the net and then I think in the second period, I established myself and didn’t give up many rebounds after that.
On the fan atmosphere: Fans give you a lot of energy. Even in the warmups and during the game. They cheer for us really well so it’s nice to have them back.
On the guys in front of him: They helped me so much around the net. Like I said, the first period I felt like I gave up some rebounds and also at the start of the second period too. They boxed them out really well and cleaned the space right next to me so well.
On the conditioning stint in Chicago: Of course it helped me. I hadn’t seen a game in two months so when I was in net in Chicago, the game looked so different from in the net than from the sky box. It was good conditioning and I’m happy I went and I’m happy I came back tonight and got the win.
On if he sees a team cohesion and everything just coming together: Yeah. I think the team looks really sharp. Even when I was playing we were doing things right and trying with discipline. Everybody was playing really, really hard.
On Alex Nedeljkovic: I would say Alex and [James Reimer] both played really, really well. They gave the team a chance to win every night and they did a great job.
On if there was any pre-scout to his shot selection for his goal: No. I feel like I’ve been close and kind of fighting it. A little frustrated I guess. But I’ve got to give a little bit of credit to my dad because he just said quit gripping your stick so tight and have fun. He’s like, “You’ve scored goals before, just go out and shoot.” So we’ll chalk that one up to Sparky Marky for the assist on that one.
On Petr Mrazek: He played two or three days ago in Chicago and played pretty well. But yeah, that’s just what [Mrazek] does. He’s a gamer. It was good to see him back in there. Obviously the results speak for themselves. He was phenomenal. Big saves when we needed him. Just a great game by [Mrazek].
On if the team knew Rick Bowness was pulled due to COVID protocol: No. We didn’t know. Didn’t know anything about that.
On the physical play: They’re a heavy team. They play physically and I think even from last game, you knew what type of game it was going to be. They’re right there. They need some points right now and we know they were in the Stanley Cup Final last year for the reason that they showed out there. There’s not a whole lot of room. All around the ice, you’re getting challenged. It brings the best out of a lot of guys.
On these games feeling like playoff hockey: They felt like some playoff games. That’s a good team over there. Obviously they went all the way last year. They know how to win and how to get all the way. So playing against them and playing hard like we did, it showed that we’ve got what it takes.
On Petr Mrazek: It was great having him back. He played phenomenal tonight. Obviously the first game back, to play that well, to get a shutout, that’s got to be good for his confidence. It’s obviously great for our team. If you can keep the puck out of our own net, you’re going to win most games.
On Brady Skjei: [Skjei]’s a great player. He can skate. He’s very steady. He’s always in the right positions in the D-zone. He can wheel in the O-zone and find guys, great vision. Our D corps is so good, and he just adds to that depth.