The first-round series between the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators will shift to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Friday night, with the Canes holding a 2-0 series lead as they get set for their first road game of the postseason.
Carolina skated in Nashville Friday morning ahead of game three. Following morning skate, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, forward Vincent Trocheck and defenseman Dougie Hamilton spoke with members of the media via Zoom.
Here is what they had to say:
On if Jaccob Slavin did something specifically injury wise in game one and on if Maxime Lajoie will play in his place Friday: I don’t think he did anything in game one, I just don’t think he’s 100 percent. If he can’t go then Lajoie will be in.
On the importance of having a couple quick series rather than every series dragging on: Yeah, in a perfect world. We’re trying to just focus on tonight. It’s going to be maybe the toughest game of the series. It’s going to be all hands on deck for us to be able to get this win. That’s the only way we can approach it. To your question, yeah, every team would love to win the Stanley Cup in 16 games, but that’s highly unlikely.
On Nashville challenging Carolina physically and on how hard it is to answer that: I don’t know. The playoffs are always like this. They’re trying to do it. We’re trying to do it. We’re both doing the same things. The discipline part is where you’ve got to be careful. You just can’t get caught in to that ‘they give you a shot and you give one back,’ because you just don’t know how it’s going to get called. You’ve got to take that out of it. That’s where it gets hard because guys are so emotional. They’re doing their best out there. That’s the game where we can’t get caught up in it, where you take an unnecessary penalty because that could be the difference.
On the intimidation of the atmosphere in the first playoff road game: It’s not intimidating. What it is is what you play for. You love it. Would you rather have nobody in here like we had last year? That was brutal versus this where you’ve got emotion. Yeah, they’re cheering the other team on, and that’s a whole different animal. That’s what it’s about. That’s the time of year that you want to have. I think the excitement factor just goes so high. I think all the players, that’s just what you play for. Obviously they’re not cheering for us, but it’s still the emotion part of it. That’s what’s great.
On Nashville, like Raleigh, being so invested in hockey and on the growth of the game to different parts of the country during his career: Totally. I think it’s awesome. We all know hockey is such a great game to watch. Being live, it’s the best live sport bar none. I’m a big sports fan. I’ve been to all of them. You just can’t duplicate what goes on in a playoff atmosphere. Being in markets like this, I think it just took a while for them to figure it out. They hadn’t had that here. Now Nashville has been here how many years? A long time. They’ve had success. You’ve got to have success. You’ve got to give people something to be excited about to come watch your team. They’ve done that, and so have we. It’s great to see.
On any lineup changes and on if Alex Nedeljkovic will be in net again: Yeah. There’s no changes unless, like I said, [Slavin’s] availability there. But other than that it’ll be the same.
On the Predators now getting to play in front of their fans: I’m sure they’ll have a little bit more energy in front of a home crowd. It’s the playoffs. I don’t think they were taking it easy in the first two games.
On a power-play goal giving some confidence to the unit: It was nice to see one go in on the power play, obviously we’ve been struggling for a little bit. I think we know what we’re capable of on the power play and what we’ve done all year. It was just a matter of getting back to the basics and starting from scratch again and outworking the penalty kill.
On how he would evaluate his play so far and on what he’s focused on for game three: I think I’ve played well through the first two games. I’m just trying to go out there in game three and do the same thing that I was in games one and two. I’m just trying to play my game, play simple and play our style of hockey and maybe get a few bounces here and there.
On Juuse Saros having a couple good saves on him: Sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap. I think obviously me getting the chances is obviously that I’m doing some right things. I’m getting in scoring areas and getting opportunities. It’s just a matter of getting one by him. I don’t think I take it hard mentally. We won the first two games, so I’m not too worried about it.
On sticking to the process on the power play and on how much it helps to see one go in: I think it’s probably the same, getting looks and stuff. It obviously feels better when it goes in. It was nice for us to get one last game. I think it’s about the process; trying to figure out what they’re doing and what they’re changing and trying to figure out what they’re doing and adapting to it. It’s seeing if we can find holes in whatever they’re doing and executing. We’ll see tonight. We’ll see if they change and what we do to try to get some looks.
On Nashville’s atmosphere in the regular season finale and on what that may be like Friday night: I think it’s gonna be pretty awesome in here tonight, for sure. You’ve seen on the past on TV watching games here, you see how loud and crazy it is. It’s been a lot of fun to have fans back in the arena the first two games. It’s going to be fun again tonight to have fans and all the energy.
On how much it affects him to have his defensive partner, Jaccob Slavin, out: It’s different for sure, obviously. Everyone knows how good [Slavin] is. It’s definitely a hole in our lineup, and we all have to as a team try to play better to fill that. We know how good he is. We know what we need to fill that spot. Hopefully we can stay out of the box tonight and play a little bit more 5-on-5. Last game those guys, [Brett Pesce] and [Brady Skjei], were beasts. It was insane to watch them PK 10 minutes, or whatever they did. Hopefully we can play well tonight as a group again.