They don’t ask how, but how many. Thanks to the return of Jaccob Slavin, two goals from Martin Necas and an overtime winner from Jordan Staal, the Hurricanes came from behind to win game five of their first round series with Nashville 3-2, and take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Staal, Necas, Slavin and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media after the win, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On his address to the team during a third-period TV timeout: We had a great game going, and the third period, that was our worst 10 minutes. We were just not doing what we had to do. It was probably a little frustration on my part more than anything, but we just had to get back to doing what we do. That was it. You yell and scream a little bit, try to get a little emotion on the bench and that was about all.
On Martin Necas’ talent taking over: We definitely have talent, and we’re going to get a goal like that every seven or eight games. That’s what happens. But the other part of our game is just that grind game that we all have to play this time of year. We were doing it great for two period and then for that beginning of the third, everyone was just trying to a little too much and we didn’t get to it, but the talent got us back in the game. Basically a solo effort, and it got us back to have a chance to win the game.
On walking the line and making sure there’s a sense of urgency but making sure everyone stays with their game: That’s it in a nutshell, trying to figure that out. I thought this game, for two periods, was really good. We were doing everything we had to do, and everything was going against us. No matter what we tried, they get their first goal, float one in and it goes in. We finally fought back, and obviously there’s a goal that gets taken off the board that you think is a goal. What else can happen? But these guys stuck with it, and we’re still around, and that’s what’s great.
On Jordan Staal winning the game by getting in front of Saros: He should have had two with the same concept. There’s no secret this time of year. You’re going to get one of those Necas goals every seven or eight games, they’ve had theirs. It’s that kind of goal that you have to have every night. That kind of play has to be there every night, at the net, grinding it out.
On the message going into overtime: It is what it is. Obviously you’d love to say ‘Hey, let’s get it [quickly],’ but you don’t know how it’s going to go. Whatever way it’s going to go, that’s the way it’s got to be and we’ll do it anyway. I think you’d love to obviously finish it off early if you could, but I think at the end of the day, it was good that we got rewarded tonight. That’s the way I look at it. We finally got a bounce, something that went our way, that we really haven’t had this series. So I think that was nice.
On the Canes getting a goal called back on goalie interference in the second period: Here’s the deal. I get why they called goalie interference. [Warren Foegele] was there initially. Had that shot come in initially, I think it’s goalie interference. But it didn’t come initially. So then, he gets out and their guy clearly pushes him and interferes with the goalie. It’s not our guy. There’s no chance he’s making that save anyway. It’s going wide, hits our skate and goes in. There needs to be a little more common sense on that, in my opinion. That’s clearly their guy preventing the goalie from making the save, not our guy. So that’s my take on it. I got a different explanation, but it is what it is.
On having Jaccob Slavin back: That was huge. We’ve obviously missed that and even on the game-winning goal, he’s out there making a little play that allowed us to get a chance. He’s an elite defender and you take that out of anybody’s lineup, that’s going to be missed, big time.
On things finally going the Canes’ way: It’s a belief in what you’re doing that it’s going to work out. I think that’s the whole key, having that belief in how we have to play. We did it for most of that game, and then there were times where we didn’t and they had their shots at it. So I think it’s just good for the group to obviously get that and know ‘Hey, this is how we’ve got to play if we want to be successful.’
On the clutch goals: [Necas], obviously, he’s got some great talent. He found a way to get us going. They were doing a good job of clogging everything up, and we had a tough time getting in their end, a tough time of creating offense. A talent like that can change a game. He had an unbelievable game today. [We were] fortunate enough to get on the right side of overtime tonight.
On where the game ranks on his list of big goals: I don’t know, but it was fun. Overtime, obviously, but at home, especially with what we’ve gone through the last couple of games too. To get a big one like that felt really good. We still have some work to do, but yeah, it felt good.
On his emotion on scoring: Not a whole lot of thoughts were going through my mind, besides just wanting some bear hugs from the fellas. We’ve been working hard. We had two rough ones in overtime that hurt, and not go our way, playing well, playing hard. It’s nice to get rewarded. It could have been any of us tonight. I thought everyone played well enough to get that goal, and I’m happy we got the win.
On walking the line between urgency and consistency: It’s a fine line. [Brind’Amour] did a great job of giving us a bump in that third period. We were running out of time, and it looked like we were a little stagnant. [Martinook, Lorentz and Fast] were out there and had a great shift for us, kind of got us going. And then [Necas] with a big goal right after that. When the crowd gets into it here, it’s exciting, and it’s tough to stop. There’s a fine line of sticking with the program and not getting too stagnant, and we really have to start pushing to get some more opportunities.
On what happened on the goal: I’m not really sure, actually. I think [Slavin] had it and I was kind of going to the net. I thought I had a step on my guy there, and it went D to D and I was just trying to get a good screen. [Pesce] had an absolute bomb, and I got a stick on it and it kind of just popped up. I started giving it a whack at it. Obviously it was a great bounce, but we’ve been working for those and I’m glad we got one tonight.
On Brind’Amour’s sense of timing: We needed a spark. We needed to get going. You could tell we were getting a little frustrated. They were doing a good job of slowing the game down. We weren’t creating much, so the energy was kind of getting low. We needed a push from everybody, and going up and down the bench, we needed everyone to give a little more. That line came out big for us right after that, and obviously [Necas] with a big goal. I felt like we took off from there.
On his scoring touch around the net: I mean, you’re taking a swing at it. In this league, obviously, sometimes with the ice the puck bounces a lot. Guys have great hand-eye, including around the net. I was fortunate; I could have easily whiffed on that one. I’m glad I think I got my shaft on it, but I was kind of swinging at it and got a good bounce.
On it being fitting that Staal got the winner: Honestly, he had a great regular season, and I think he’s having an even better playoffs. He’s a true leader. We have a really good team, and he’s a real leader of us.
On getting the overtime win after two straight double-overtime losses: It was huge. Maybe we were a little bit nervous. You could see that in the third period. We didn’t play our best, but somehow we got the goal and in OT that was huge. We needed that, and we are so happy to be up 3-2.
On if he was thinking wraparound on his game-tying goal or if that’s how the play developed: It was coming quick. First I was for sure looking for someone else or a shot, but then I saw that I had a lot of speed and Saros was pretty far from his crease. I already tried it a couple times in the regular season, and I saw there was an opportunity for that. Fortunately it worked.
On him deciding to just try to make something happen on his second goal: We were down 2-1. Usually you don’t want to make a turnover on the blue line. I saw that I had a lot of speed. I think it was [Filip] Forsberg, he’s a forward, so it’s always a little easier against forwards than against D-men on the blue line. I tried him, and fortunately I went through and what happened happened.
On what Brind’Amour said to the team right before his second goal: He wasn’t really happy with our performance in the third period. I think in 10 or 15 minutes we had like two shots on the goal, or something like that. When we’re down 2-1 and we’re playing like that, of course he doesn’t like that. He just tried to fire us up a little bit, and I guess it worked.
On how he felt and on what it was like having to watch two double-overtime games: First off, it’s awesome to get back out there and battle with the guys. They’ve been battling hard this whole series so far. Watching the games, I don’t like it. That’s for sure. I definitely get more nervous watching than being in the action. But no, it felt good to get back out there tonight. Obviously we got a huge win, so that’s all that matters.
On if it felt like it was going to take some great individual efforts to break through and on getting those efforts: It wasn’t our best game tonight. I think we got away from what makes us successful a little bit there. Obviously [Necas] had a great goal in the third to tie it up. He’s a special player, and he’s been playing like that all year. That’s huge, but we’ve just got to go back to Nashville and play the way that we know how to play and hopefully come away with a win there.
On being captained by Staal: It’s awesome. You see the emotion he had there at the end. He doesn’t always show it, but that’s the emotion he puts into every single thing he does. He’s a great leader on and off the ice. He’s a beast on the ice. Off the ice, he’s just a great guy. He’s a great leader, a great teammate. He’s willing to do whatever it takes. I’m thankful I don’t have to play against him down low in the corners. I’m thankful he’s on our side.
On the mood in the locker room heading into overtime: We knew we had a lot better to give. Our third period wasn’t great. Obviously we got the goal from [Necas], which was huge. But we knew we had better to give. We knew we had to do whatever it takes to come away with the win. This is a huge win. The mood was positive. We knew what we needed to do. We have the guys in that locker room to rally together and come out and get it done. That’s what happened tonight.
On the disallowed goal and on his reaction and what was said on the bench to move on: I Exactly. I think that’s what my reaction was, just ‘oh well, we’ve got to go back out and try to do it again.’ The guys competed. On the bench it was just ‘do it again. Do it again.’ And to keep grinding. That’s what we did tonight.
On what Brind’Amour said to the team before the Necas goal: I think we had two shots up until that point in the period. Obviously we’re a team that likes to get a lot of pucks to the net. We like to grind down low. We weren’t doing that that period. He was just saying ‘this is what the year is coming down to. We’re either going to take advantage of it, or we’re gonna have all this work that we’ve done all year for nothing.’ Guys were ready and responded well.