Brady Skjei and Steven Lorentz each potted two goals in the win and Frederik Andersen turned aside eight shots in relief for Antti Raanta.
After the game, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, along with Lorentz and Skjei spoke to the media via Zoom. Here’s what they had to say:
On turning the game around: We were generating all the offense, maybe the most we have in any game at the start, but we were just thinking we were going to score and forgot about the defense. We gave up odd-man rush after odd-man rush and you can’t do that. You score off the rush in this league. It was very uncharacteristic, but it was what was killing us. I think we were getting so many chances we were just like, ‘Oh, we’re going to get one here,’ and we just gave up — not a ton — but the ones we were giving up were too good. The second wasn’t totally great either on that part, but as the game kept going we hunkered down on that part and we were getting so much offense, we capitalized.
On what was said in the locker room: I don’t have to say too much. I probably say a little too much in there at times, but we had to get the message across. The guys knew what was going on. It was pretty clear. That’s the one thing about this group. They’re pretty honest about it. They know where their play is and where we were struggling. It was good that we got a couple of bounces, but it was because we earned them and that was clear in this game.
On remembering any other game like that one: Not really. The difference in a lot of the other comeback ones that make this one a little different is that maybe those were a bit tighter games, and this one was just so wide open it felt like. We were down two, three, four and it still felt like if we got back into the game we still might have a chance, which we did. Obviously. The crucial thing was Freddie coming in and making a few big saves. One where the game was almost out of hand and that one could have turned it. I thought his play was great. We’ll take the win for sure.
On Brady Skjei’s offensive ability: Skjei has a lot of ability offensively because he skates so well, number one. He also has a really good shot and sees the ice so it’s not surprising to see him contribute that way.
On making the change in net: We just needed a little change up there. A little work too, because Freddie hasn’t been around for a bit. You’re a little bit hesitant there, but I think at that point, we didn’t have much to lose.
On the win and his goals: Obviously that one was a little special. Sometimes you get a game like that where it seems like you’re a little bit down and out or not getting the breaks, then all of a sudden all at once you stick with the game plan and good things happen. That’s kind of what happened. After two periods we regrouped a little bit and said ‘we’re right there. Once we get that next goal by them, the floodgates might open.’ And sure enough they did. It obviously feels good starting the new year right. It gives you a little bit of confidence being able to produce offensively as well. We’ll take it, but that’s just one game to start the year right. We’ve got to get ready for our next test.
On the mood on the bench when the floodgates open: It was kind of a whirlwind there watching them start going on. It seemed like every minute or two. We were just looking down at each other going ‘holy, what’s going on here?’ I really think we earned it, though. There were some times where we were a little bit sloppy. But I think in the O-zone tonight we did a great job hounding their D and making it hard on them and forcing turnovers. It paid off in the third and the floodgates opened up there. We just had to stick to the game plan. It was good to see nobody ventured off onto their own page and tried to do it themselves to be the hero. It was a team effort, and that’s what makes our group so special.
On getting the first goal on the board: We just had to get something going. I think we answered after a goal against. It was nice to go out there and contribute offensively. We know our role as the fourth line. We just go out there and try to make something happen. Try not to get scored on. Whether it was a big hit, just going out to the faceoff [Derek Stepan] and [Seth Jarvis], we looked at each other and said let’s try to get something going. We were fortunate to get the puck in on the forecheck. [Stepan] made a great play out to Tony, and just world-class vision from him finding me backdoor. We just kind of stuck to our game plan and didn’t let their lead creep into our game.
On if we can expect two goals from him every game in 2022: Nope. I’d love that, but I don’t think we need to get our hopes up too much.
On what the experience was like: It was a weird game. In the first period, we found ourselves down 3-0 and I thought we outplayed them honestly. I thought we were all over them in their d-zone. We just gave up a few grade-A chances that they capitalized on. In the intermission we told ourselves to keep playing the way we were and the goals would come and they definitely did.
On what point in the game the team felt they could win: That’s what’s kind of special about this team. There was no questioning whether we thought we could win. Even being down 3-0, we were playing a pretty good hockey game. We knew if we got pucks behind them and worked their defense we would get our chances. Obviously we weren’t expecting to score seven, but we knew we would get our goals and fight back to get back into the game.