On Monday, the Hurricanes practiced at PNC Arena after a day off on Sunday. Following practice, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Marin Necas spoke with reporters via Zoom.
Here is what they had to say:
On Nino Niederreiter being back in practice, if he expects him to play and on what he brings back to the team: You get some goal-scoring ability when you add him in there, for sure. We’re hopeful that he’ll play, but we’ll find out tomorrow. That was his first practice with us in a long time. But it was a good sign. He looked good, and we obviously need him.
On if he’s still happy with the 5-on-5 play: Yeah. That’s been not an issue. There’s obviously things we need to do better, but that’s clearly not been the issue in our losses. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and play another game like that. Obviously we need to be better in areas, but I’ve liked our effort 5-on-5 through this whole series.
On Morgan Geekie practicing with the power play and on what they need to do to adjust to Tampa’s penalty kill: We only had two power plays the other night, so there wasn’t a ton of adjustment time. Usually you run one and then you can get another one and then you can make your adjustments. We definitely have to be sharper, for sure. [Geekie] was on the power play last game. Like I said, we didn’t have very much, so it was hard to assess there. We are definitely waiting to see on a couple guys, not sure who is gonna play or not. I’m not sure if he’ll fill in or not on the power play.
On if the day off Sunday was good for the team: For sure. I think especially the way that game went and the ebbs and flows of how it ended up, it was nice to have a day to just kind of get away from it. And now a day to reset and get focused for obviously the biggest game of the year for us.
On playing in an elimination game: Yeah, I actually think they are easier games to play. You know there is no tomorrow. Everyone says it, but this is it. You’ve got to lay it all on the line. I think they are sometimes easier to play, for some reason. Obviously that’s the case, and I’m sure we’ll give everything we have. I have no doubt in this group.
On how Warren Foegele and Vincent Trocheck are doing and on if he has decided on a goalie for Tuesday: I have not on the goalie yet. Vincent, I think he’s gonna try tomorrow. I hope so, obviously, but I’m not sure. Same thing with [Foegele]. They’re both kind of game time, I guess is the way I would put it.
On if having an extra day off here is a good thing: I don’t know, really. It’s a little different because we’ve kind of been playing every other day so far in the playoffs. It’s a good chance for us to reset though and get away from hockey for a little bit yesterday. Get back into it today and have a little freshness and get excited for tomorrow and the opportunity we have ahead of us. I think it’s fine.
On if adversity is good for this team and they welcome it a little bit: We’d rather be up 3-1, obviously. It is what it is right now. We’ve just got to make sure we’re taking it one game at a time. Like I’ve said before, we don’t quit. Our group doesn’t quit. We’re gonna play well tomorrow. It’s just one day at a time right now, and we’ll see where it takes us.
On if there was anything on the power play that specifically needed to be tweaked in practice: I think execution for sure. They changed up their PK last game. We had just two. We needed to be sharper on those two, but they came with a lot more pressure. We’ve got to be ready for it. It’s a long series. They’re going to change things, and we’ve got to adapt and change things and make them adapt. Hopefully we can be ready tomorrow and execute and hopefully win that special teams battle.
On how nice it was to see Nino Niederreiter back on the ice in practice: Yeah, for sure. It’s obviously a boost for us. We’re missing a couple guys. I think it’s a big boost. He should be fresh and ready to go. I don’t know how he felt or whatever, but it was great to have him there. Hopefully he can play tomorrow and play well for us.
On if they’ve had internal conversations about all the penalties: I think everyone knows, for sure. We know how good their power play is. Nobody is trying to take penalties. You don’t go out there and say ‘I’m going to take a penalty this shift.’ It happens. We definitely have to try not to take them, but the game happens pretty fast sometimes. It’s hockey. We have to do our best to stay out of the box and limit their power play chances. That will give us a better chance at winning.
On how good it was to have Nino Niederreiter back on the ice and on how much he adds to their line: Obviously we miss him. He’s a big part of our team. We’re missing a few guys right now. But if he comes back, it’s a big help for us and I’m excited to play with him again.
On if they’ve found anything that can help them have more success on the power play: Yeah, for sure. We looked at it. They changed it a little bit. I don’t really think we have to change much on our part. We just have to be better with the puck a little bit and move the puck quicker. We play basically the same style we’ve played all year, and try to keep doing that.
On what it will take to beat Tampa three straight times: All the games are really tight. The first two were really tight and then we won one in OT. This one wasn’t smart by us. We were up 4-2 in the second and we gave them some goals and the power play, which we know they have a really good one. We’ve just got to look at it and play game by game. We’ve got to win the next one and then focus on the next.
On if they still feel like they don’t need to change their game: Yeah, you always have got some little mistakes. We try to look at it on the video in the meetings. Especially in the first few games I felt like we played really good 5-on-5, then we made some mistakes. It’s a really tight series. We still believe. We want to win the game tomorrow and then focus on the next one.
On the mood of the team and the confidence level: For sure we were really upset after the game, but yesterday we had the day off and today was a completely different day. We tried to learn from our mistakes that game and that day, and just don’t think about it anymore. Keep improving. We had a good practice today, and be ready for tomorrow.